Dreamworld (Australian theme park)
|Location||Coomera, Queensland, Australia|
|Opened||15 December 1981|
|Area||85 ha (210 acres)|
The park is made up of several themed lands: Ocean Parade, DreamWorks Experience, Wiggles World, Town of Gold Rush, Rocky Hollow, Tiger Island and the Dreamworld Corroboree. These lands have a collection of rides, animal exhibits, shows, food outlets and merchandise shops.
Dreamworld is noted for being the location of the Australian Big Brother house filmed at the Dreamworld Studios, since the program began in Australia in 2001. In December 2006, Dreamworld expanded its offerings by opening WhiteWater World next door. On several occasions during the year, Dreamworld remains open after dark. This event, known as Screamworld, includes all of the thrill rides and a selection of children's rides.
Construction and openingEdit
In 1974, John Longhurst, the father of the future Australian water-ski champion and two time Bathurst 1000 winner Tony Longhurst, put his dream of building a theme park into practice and purchased 85 hectares (210 acres) of land beside the Pacific Motorway in Coomera. Longhurst spent two years, working 12-hour days, to excavate what is now known as the Murrissipi River. No expense was spared when Longhurst employed some designers who worked on Disneyland and Walt Disney World to design the park. It was up to a collection of Australian architects to mimic Australian pioneer buildings during construction.
With attractions, Longhurst aimed to satisfy all of the family. Opening day attractions included the IMAX Theatre, a Baldwin Locomotive (now known as the Dreamworld Express), Model T Fords (now known as Vintage Cars), Rocky Hollow Log Ride, Australian Koala Theatre and the Captain Sturt Paddle-wheeler. The theme park was officially opened on 15 December 1981 by the Premier of Queensland of the time, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen.
Since then Dreamworld has constantly evolved adding new rides, themed lands and characters. One year after opening in 1982, the Thunderbolt opened as the world's longest steel double loop roller coaster. A new themed area known as Gum Tree Gully also opened. In 1983, Blue Lagoon water park opened and Dreamworld introduced Belinda Brown as the park's third mascot. In 1984 the park began seven-day trading after two years of only being open Thursday through to Tuesday. In 1986, Gold Rush Country (now the Town of Gold Rush) opened featuring Eureka Mountain Mine Ride and Thunder River Rapids Ride. In 1987, Koala Country opened and in 1989 the Skylink Chairlift opened.
In 1991, to promote the Australian premiere of The Simpsons on Network Ten from 10 February, Dreamworld welcomed the characters of the American TV series. Guests could meet and greet with them as well as see them in the live stage show The Simpsons: Live on Stage, but the characters only appeared twice daily until 30 June.
In 1993, the Wipeout ride opened as part of the new Ocean Parade themed area. In 1995 Tiger Island opened with the Riverwalk Restaurant (now known as the Billabong BBQ and Buffet) opened. In 1997, the world's tallest and fastest roller coaster Tower of Terror opened. One year later the Giant Drop, the world's tallest freefall ride, was added to the Dreamworld Tower. Also in 1998, four Bengal Tiger cubs were born: Rama, Taj, Sultan and Sita. In December 1999, Dreamworld added a variety of kids rides in a new themed area called Kennyland.
In January 2001, the Australian Wildlife Experience opened after the refurbishment and expansion of Koala Country. Later that year in April, Big Brother Australia commenced broadcasting following the redevelopment of Dreamworld's Amphitheatre. In December 2001, the Cyclone opened after its relocation from Luna Park Sydney where it was known as "The Big Dipper". Also in 2001, two new Bengal tigers, Kato and Kaasha, were born in Tiger Island. In 2002, Nickelodeon Central replaced Kennyland and Village Oval to include a wide variety of new and refurbished children's rides.
In 2003, Dreamworld further expanded its wildlife offerings by running after hours "Sunset Safaris". In August 2003, Thunderbolt was closed. It was demolished and sold for scrap metal in March 2004. Dreamworld has retained a section of track and at least one train in the park's back-of-house areas. Later that year in September 2004, The Claw opened in Ocean Parade. On 15 March 2005, the Skylink Chairlift, which provided a link between Gold Rush Country and the Australian Wildlife Experience, closed. It remained standing for several months before the wires were removed. The support poles remain standing to this day. Gum Tree Gully closed to make way for the world's first Wiggles World which opened on 10 September 2005.
In 2006, Ardent Leisure shifted its focus to improving its offerings of water attractions. In April, Blue Lagoon was closed due to its planned replacement by WhiteWater World as a separate gated complex. On 24 June, the FlowRider opened in Ocean Parade. On 7 November, the Eureka Mountain Mine Ride closed and has remained standing but not operating to this day. In 2007, two Sumatran Tiger cubs, Indah and Rahni, were born at Tiger Island. Later that year in September, Mick Doohan's Motocoaster opened after the relocation of the Avis Vintage Cars.
On 20 June 2008, SpongeBob FlyPants opened as part of Nickelodeon Central. On 9 June, Tiger Island welcomed the birth of three Sumatran Tiger cubs: Ndari, Jaya and Shanti.
In the middle of 2008, the final series of Australian Big Brother for the Channel 10 Network was produced leaving the house and studios standing upon completion. In Ocean Parade, V8 Supercars RedLine opened on 26 December near the FlowRider and Cyclone entrance. A few months later, the Vortex was closed and removed to make way for AVPX which opened on 10 April 2009. Almost exactly one year later in April 2010, the Illuminate Light & Laser Spectacular began seasonal operation in Main Street. In September, the Tower of Terror relaunched as the Tower of Terror II featuring a new, reversed car.
In 2009, a Bell 206 helicopter operating joy flights on behalf of Dreamworld crash landed in the carpark near the park's main entry. The pilot and four Taiwanese visitors to the park suffered minor injuries in the crash. The pilot was initially praised for avoiding crowded areas of the park, but it was later revealed the crash was a result of mismanagement which led to the helicopter running out of fuel. Dreamworld has not offered helicopter flights since the accident.
In late 2010, Dreamworld announced that they would begin celebrating their 30th birthday by holding the Summer Funomenon over the summer school holidays. The IMAX Theatre was renovated to become the Dreamworld Cinema. A roof was constructed over Main Street between the entrances for Ocean Parade and Nickelodeon Central. The Marketplace in Main Street was also upgraded. Also a new tiger cub named Pi (pronounced pie) was born.
In 2011, two separate incidents were reported of handlers at Dreamworld's Tiger Island attraction being bitten by a nine-year-old Bengal Tiger and requiring hospitalisation. The park's life sciences manager said that both incidents would be investigated, and the park reviewed its animal handling procedures.
On 16 February 2011, Ardent Leisure announced plans to have an Easter promotion where lions would be on temporary exhibition from National Zoo & Aquarium who are renovating their facilities; this was later revealed by Dreamworld to be "The Lair". On 7 April 2011, Dreamworld announced that they would be adding a family thrill ride in June and a major thrill ride in September 2011. On 18 May 2011, the family thrill ride was officially announced to be a Zamperla Disk'O called Shockwave within Ocean Parade. The ride opened on 25 June 2011. By the start of the winter holidays on 25 June 2011, Dreamworld's contract with Nickelodeon had been terminated, thus all of the rides in Nickelodeon Central were renamed to a generic kids theme: Kid's World. On 17 September 2011, Dreamworld opened BuzzSaw – a Maurer Söhne SkyLoop roller coaster. The opening of the ride was timed with the renaming of Gold Rush Country to the Town of Gold Rush.
On 10 November 2011, Dreamworld announced a three-stage plan to incorporate DreamWorks Animation films and characters into its theme park at a cost of $10 million. The first phase was the temporary summer show, the DreamWorks Holiday Shrektacular. The second phase was the DreamWorks Experience precinct (the retheming of the existing Kid's World area) which opened on 31 March 2012. The final phase was the development of Kung Fu Panda: Land of Awesomeness. This area opened on 21 December 2012 with the park's eighth thrill ride, Pandamonium. In 2012, Dreamworld also saw the return of Big Brother as well as the addition of the Big Red Boat Ride to Wiggles World.
AVPX closed on 31 March 2013. It was replaced with Zombie Evilution on 13 September 2013. Zombie Evilution originally ran as a temporary scare maze until 14 October. On 18 October, the attraction reopened as a laser skirmish attraction with the same theme and backstory.
On 8 November 2013 the park was evacuated when a bushfire came within close proximity. Everyone in the park was evacuated within an hour. Dreamworld announced via Facebook that the park was not under any immediate threat and that back burning to protect it from any damage had started just outside the Big Brother complex. Later that day, Dreamworld again announced via Facebook that the blaze was under control thanks to firefighters and that the park would re-open as normal the next day.
On 28 April 2014, the Reef Diver closed and was subsequently removed. On 20 September, it was replaced by Tailspin, a Gerstlauer Sky Fly.
In early 2015, Dreamworld teased that two new big attractions would be coming to the park in 2015. Throughout the early months of the year, rumours circulated as to the reopening of the Eureka Mountain Mine Ride, however these are not yet confirmed by Dreamworld. Zombie Evilution once again reopened as a scare maze in April. On 12 May, Dreamworld announced that Wiggles World would become a shared kids' world based on the characters of the Australian children's television network, ABC Kids. ABC Kids World opened in June. Dreamworld have also revealed plans for an extensive motorsport attraction, expected to be a new V8 Supercars attraction to either complement or replace V8 Supercars RedLine. On 26 July, Tiger Cub Kai was born. On 12 October, The Cyclone was closed for refurbishment as part of the Motorsport Precinct, labelled to open 26 December 2015. On 25 October, Dreamworld posted new information on their website regarding the Motorsport Precinct. Including that the Cyclone will be renamed "Hot Wheels Sidewinder" after Dreamworld entered into a partnership with Hot Wheels. Dreamworld also revealed that the Precinct will feature the Motorsport Museum (Featuring the 30 Peter Brock V8's) as well as six state-of-the-art racing simulators, a new F&B (Food and Beverage) Outlet named Grid Burgers and Sports Bar, as well as a new retail outlet. The Precinct is sponsored by Dunlop, RACQ and Hot Wheels and opened on 26 December 2015. On 29 November 2015, Two Female Tiger Cubs were born. Later named Akasha and Adira. On 26 December 2015, The Motorsports Experience, including the Brock Museum, Trackside Merchandise Outlet, Grid Burgers Food and Beverage as well as the Hot Wheels SideWinder opened as advertised.
On 27 January 2016, Zombie Evilution closed to the public and would no longer operate as a laser tag arena, the attraction was still, however, utilised as a scare-maze for special events, such as Screamworld. On 9 February, Dreamworld welcomed two female white tiger cubs from Kagoshima City, in Japan. These two cubs were viewable in a quarantine enclosure located in front of the Zombie Evilution attraction. On 29 February, Tiger Island closed for refurbishment, the tiger cubs were still viewable in a new Tiger Cub Kindy area, located in Ocean Parade.
In April 2016 a man fell out of the log ride when he stood up mid-ride; he was then run over by two more logs that passed, suffered cuts to his head and almost drowned. The ride was closed for two days after while it was investigated by Queensland authorities. The ride reopened shortly after.
Thunder River Rapids Ride incidentEdit
On 25 October 2016 at 2:20 pm AEST, four people were killed in an incident on the ride, on approach towards the unloading platform. A vacant raft had become stuck and the following raft, carrying four adults and two children, collided with it. The conveyor belt continued to push the second raft onto the front raft causing it to lift up and tip backwards with "persons being variously caught in machinery". Two passengers were ejected from the raft, while the other two were trapped. The deceased were two women, aged 32 and 42, and two men, aged 35 and 38. A 10-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl who were on the same raft were thrown into the water but did not sustain serious injuries.
In the aftermath of the Thunder River Rapids incident, Dreamworld spent just over a month closed to the public to enable audits of all rides, shows and infrastructure. The park reopened to the public on 10 December 2016, without major thrill rides operating however DreamWorks Experience, ABC Kids World, Wiggles World, Dreamworld Coroboree and WhiteWater World opened.
Dreamworld is broken up into a series of themed areas – each with their own collection of rides, shows, attractions and shops. From the entrance (in a clockwise direction) they are: Main Street, Town of Gold Rush, Rocky Hollow, Dreamworld Corroboree, Wiggles World, Rivertown, Tiger Island, DreamWorks Experience and Ocean Parade.
Main Street serves as the entrance and midway for the park. It features the central station for the Dreamworld Express as well as the Dreamworld Cinema. The area is mainly made up of food, beverage and retail outlets.
Town of Gold Rush is located to the left of Main Street. It opened on 11 December 1986 with the Eureka Mountain Mine Ride and the Thunder River Rapids Ride. In 2006, the Eureka Mountain Mine Ride was decommissioned due to safety concerns, it was demolished in 2018. Thunder River Rapids Ride was closed in 2016 following the incident and was also removed. Attractions remaining include a Shooting Gallery, Old Time Photos and BuzzSaw (a Maurer Söhne SkyLoop roller coaster).
Rocky Hollow opened with Dreamworld in 1981 featuring the Rocky Hollow Log Ride. In 1998, the world's tallest free fall ride, opened in the area. Standing at 119 metres (390 ft), The Giant Drop accelerates riders at speeds of up to 135 kilometres per hour (84 mph) in a matter of seconds.
Dreamworld Corroboree is a collection of wildlife attractions divided into several subsections which allow guests to view the animals in their natural habitats. It is a registered zoo with 800 native and barnyard animals located within the Dreamworld grounds. The area is also home to a set of Ford Model T vintage cars which can be driven around a small circuit.
Wiggles World is based upon the popular Australian children entertainers, The Wiggles. It is aimed at toddlers and young children and features gentle rides and attractions including the Big Red Car Ride and Dorothy's Rosy Tea Cup Ride. It was the first of many Wiggles Worlds to be installed at various theme parks around the world (although it is the only one that remains).
Rivertown is another themed area that opened with the park in 1981. The area originally was home to the Vintage Cars which have since been relocated to Dreamworld Corroboree. The area currently features two of the Big 9 Thrill Rides: the Tower of Terror II and Mick Doohan's Motocoaster.
Tiger Island opened in 1995 as one of only two interactive tiger exhibits in the world. The exhibit featured various locations for the tigers to live, swim and play. In 2010, the exhibit is home to 6 Bengal tigers, 6 Sumatran tigers and 2 cougars.
DreamWorks Experience is a section of the park designed specifically for children and tweens. All of the attractions in DreamWorks Experience have been refurbished from their operation as rides in Kid's World and Nickelodeon Central. The area is split up into three areas (Madagascar Madness, Shrek's Faire Faire Away and Kung Fu Panda: Land Of Awesomeness). The area's flagship attractions include the Escape from Madagascar suspended family roller coaster and Pandamonium, one of the park's Big 9 Thrill Rides.
Ocean Parade is the largest themed area at Dreamworld in terms of attractions. It features 4 of the Big 9 Thrill Rides – The Claw, Tailspin, Wipeout and Hot Wheels SideWinder are within close proximity of each other. Ocean Parade has an Australian beach culture theme with some beach-themed rides scattered around the area including the Shockwave and FlowRider. It also features an internal, park-hop entrance to WhiteWater World.
Dreamworld Studios is an auditorium with production facilities located within the theme park next to the former Blue Lagoon water park site. The facility is most notable for being the production base of Big Brother Australia with the Big Brother House located a short walk away.
Rides and attractionsEdit
Like all theme parks, attractions are sometimes closed due to age and replaced with more contemporary attractions. Dreamworld has seen this action used a great deal of times, with many attraction closures, replacements and expansions. However, all of Dreamworld's opening day attractions are still operating to this day.
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