The Parkz Update: Dreamworld rebounds with big crowds for the peak season

Dreamworld is feeling once again like its former self with peak season crowds descending on the theme park.

Image: Parkz. A full car park and a full theme park at Dreamworld.
In a refreshing sight, crowds fill the park for no other reason than it's summer. 
It's a whole different atmosphere to twelve months ago.
Things do feel back to normal in sheer numbers, though of course discounting has factored heavily in recent months and annual passes as low as $49 no doubt filled a few stockings at Christmas.
It is pleasing to see such a full car park at Dreamworld.
There's even ticket booths open at WhiteWater World.
Queues fill the staircases at WhiteWater World.
Looking down Main Street to the hive of activity at Ocean Parade.
A decent queue for Dreamworld's perennially popular ride The Claw.
Seatbelts have been added Shockwave, something you don't see on other identical rides anywhere else in the world.
Tail Spin spins.
Thanks to this ride's painfully low capacity, that's actually a fairly long queue.
Ocean Parade is feeling vibrant yet again, despite the Wipeout's ongoing closure.

Wipeout reopening

Wipeout has its gondola back in place, sans seats.
The seats are there, awaiting installation.
Its reopening date has constantly been pushed back in recent months, but it might just reopen on January 7 if the ever-changing maintenance page on Dreamworld's website is to be believed.
The length of downtime on Wipeout is virtually unheard of, but with the replacement major bearing in place, the 25-year-old ride will hopefully not cause too much fuss... for at least a few more years.
It's hard to believe that the earlier mooted pre-Christmas opening was ever going to happen given how much work is still happening on the ride.
The new DreamWorks area sits half-built as a likely testament to Universal's high standards when approving concepts.
The odd placement of the forthcoming DreamWorks attraction means that Kevil Hill sits hidden in a dead end and attracting very small crowds.
If your dreams are faded and barely recognisable then you can live them at Dreamworld, apparently? 
Elswhere though, summer crowds fill the park.
The stadium at Tiger Island is full half an hour before the show.
Even the normally empty cafe at Corroboree attracts sizeable crowds.
The park is packed with guests, even in distant corners like the Vintage Cars.
The chairlift components are gone but it's clear that the themed structure will remain. They are currently remodelling the restroom facilities on the ground level.

Log Ride reopening

The Log Ride prepares for reopening with riders now meandering around a simple lawn where once was a concrete tunnel.
Testing has happened in recent days but the channel currently sits dry as work focuses on other areas of the ride.
The removal of the tunnel gives the ride a much smaller feeling.
This winding section of the ride was enclosed for 35 years.
The ride's course remains unchanged despite the removal of tunnels.
Like Wipeout it's due to reopen on January 7 following many date changes.
Other sections looking not quite as fresh like this awning that was added a number of years ago.
The ride snakes its way around a rather inoffensive lawn and some minimally planted gardens.
The ride's signage ins once a gain on display with the large walls having been removed.
The queue building is looking tidy and ready for summer queues.
Work underway installing these bizarre awnings on the boats.
It doesn't exist on any log flume ride anywhere else in the world, but this is the solution Dreamworld and consulting engineers came up with. All we need to know now is what problem they solve...
There's a whole lot of perspex and stainless steel, ostensibly to discourage riders from standing up during the course.
The rider instruction signage doesn't appear to have changed despite the vastly altered boats and loading procedure.
This Dreamworld ride is looking mostly pleasant as they prepare for reopening after a year of downtime.
The roof back in place on the ride's pumphouse.
Sticking a sponsor/supplier's umbrella in the middle of the ride course is that "Dreamworld touch" we've come to know and love tolerate actively voice our displeasure about.
More of that "Dreamworld touch", they've taken this opportunity to throw some random bits and pieces they've found around the ride as what could loosely be described as theming.
The station has been fitted with fencing to direct and protect riders as they queue and embark.
Beyond the fence, catwalks and railings were installed on the turn after the final drop. They've been painted brown to fit in with the surrounds.

Giant Drop

Giant Drop with a lengthy queue.
Part of the cause of that queue is the west tower currently sitting out of commission.
The west tower (right) is missing its topmost cable separator while this side is out of action.
Fast fact: it's been five years since Giant Drop was the world's tallest drop ride.
Mood lighting... does "cheap and lazy" count as a mood?
It's been in and out of maintenance and unscheduled closures all year, but Tower of Terror II is up and running.

Eureka Mountain demolition

The ride is almost entirely gone.
Foam from the destroyed mountain collects in the old Thunder River Rapids reservoir.
The removed ride exposes the back of the cinema building.
Track still remains in the station area, and the dip that led into a turn above the station.
The exit side of that turn supported by a crude mix of 1950s and 1980s wood and steel.
The piles of rusted rubble really aren't that different from the theme set by the original ride. But it'll be good to see what becomes of this area in years to come.
The far right track was the brake run leading into the unload platform. The left track was the bottom of the ride's sole bunny hill and the steep incline into the turn above the station.

Dreamworld cinema

The cinema has become the focus of attention in recent days.
The unusually timed announcement on December 27 of a new flying theatre from Brogent are the first solid information about the simulator attraction that had been earmarked for this location.
The cinema towers above the park now that the mountain is gone.
The relatively small cinema will be gutted for the new attraction.
Even the allure of air conditioning on a hot summer's day doesn't draw many in for the regular screenings of rather forgettable DreamWorks short films.
The cinema was given a modest overhaul when it was converted from IMAX in 2011, but gutting this worn down facility for the flying theatre will be no great loss.
The foyer's bare minimum, Madagascar-inspired theming also won't be missed.

Between the announcement of the cinema's replacement and a solid turnaround in attendance, Dreamworld looks set to head into 2018 on a good note. Though there's plenty of work to be done improving the park, restoring old attractions and replacing the void left by attractions like Thunder River Rapids, the influx of guests does show that people can and will return to Dreamworld in time.

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