Kennywood Connection hasn’t really been known for speculation, but based on the clues Kennywood has provided in their Project 412 teaser campaign, here’s an idea we’d like to share with you!
NOTE: Though our guess is based on readily available information, please note that this article does not confirm what Kennywood’s 2019 attraction will be in any way, nor is our prediction privy to any information that is not already publicly available. Please keep this in mind if you share this post elsewhere.
Nearly four weeks ago, Kennywood began sharing numeric hints about the new 2019 attraction, codenamed Project 412, on their Facebook page and other social media. The clues have been released on a weekly basis, with a bonus clue being provided last Friday in celebration of the Phantom’s Revenge being named the #3 best roller coaster in the country by a USA Today poll. If we assume that the “something big” coming to Kennywood next year is indeed a new roller coaster, then each number could theoretically apply to a statistic held by the coaster when it opens.
197 was the first clue provided, and many have theorized that the number relates to the ride’s maximum height. While other coasters (such as Soaring with Dragon at China’s Wanda Hefei park) have this exact figure as their height in feet, we found that S&S offers a coaster model whose entire catalog is capped at that height, including one currently under construction. S&S would not be a surprising choice for Kennywood’s coaster, as the park has already worked with the manufacturer who provided two very popular Screamin’ Swing rides for Kennywood Entertainment in 2006; Swingshot as well as Thunder n’ Lightning at Lake Compounce. Most recently, Palace has just opened an S&S coaster at Dutch Wonderland this year. Considering the positive feedback Merlin’s Mayhem has received, it would make sense for Palace to want to do business with S&S again.
The most recent clue of 220 has confused many who believed the first clue referred to the coaster’s height. According to Roller Coaster DataBase, two of the three existing S&S Thrust Air coasters (mirror images of each other; Happy Valley Shenzhen’s Bullet Coaster and Happy Valley Wuhan’s OCT Thrust SSC1000) feature a drop very close to this statistic thanks to tunnels that allow the track to go below ground level. While we don’t know much of anything about the ride itself at the moment aside from the land that it will utilize, we have noticed some major earthmoving towards the back of the old Log Jammer site. This area has seen the ground level lowered to match the basin of the former log flume’s splash pool. We don’t know how deep that pool was exactly, but lowering the ground would provide more opportunity for a higher coaster drop, perhaps one of 220 feet, even from a max height of 197 feet if measured from a higher point.
Here’s where things get interesting. An S&S Launch Coaster is currently under construction at Sun Tzu Cultural Park. This coaster utilizes the Thrust Air hardware, but two things are to be noted with this ride. Firstly, the ride hits the max height of 197 feet that is offered with this model. Secondly, and perhaps more notably, this coaster is the first in the line to feature an inversion; in this case, a dive loop. Nick Paradise has hinted about “loops” on Pittsburgh Today Live when asked about what will replace the Log Jammer, and this coaster demonstrates that inversions are indeed possible for this model, making it seem even more likely as a possible candidate for Project 412, while also showing that S&S is willing to modify their product (or, in the case of Merlin’s Mayhem, develop a new one entirely) to suit the needs of their customer. In other words, we may see a coaster with this hardware, but whether the ride will follow its usual specs exactly (inversions versus no inversions, launch versus lift, etc) is anyone’s guess. Given the fact that each four-across variant of the Thrust Air Coaster features 24 riders per train, we can reasonably assign three of the four clues released at the time of writing to a feature on this S&S model. That leaves us with the second clue, the number 3. This could refer to literally anything, be it number of inversions, number of trains, you name it!
Finally, we have all seen the footers which have already been poured in the lagoon. Most of us assume that they are related to Project 412. However, there has been some confusion due to the fact that they don’t really lead to anywhere. While looking at the spec sheet for the S&S Air Coaster, we noticed something quite interesting in their “Standard Layout” at the bottom of the sheet. Note the “Raven Turn” in the below image. The Raven Turn element can also be seen in the above image of Launch Coaster. Could this explain the lagoon footers?
So, with the limited knowledge we have on Project 412 thus far, that’s where we think the clues point. Will future clues cement this theory further in our minds? Will they disprove it entirely? Only time will tell! At any rate, whether we’re anywhere near the right track or not even close, it’s been fun to speculate on Kennywood’s next major attraction. This is the first time in recent memory that Kennywood has employed any sort of major teaser campaign for a new ride, and the puzzle pieces seem to come together this way. Do you agree with us? Do you think we’re crazy? Let us know on our forums or in our quite active Discord Chat! Once again, at the end of the day, we’re just as clueless as you are about Project 412, but we do know two things: we can’t wait for it to be announced, and we can’t wait to experience it for ourselves, no matter what it may be!