I am going to avoid talking about the actual ride layout because I'm still unsure whether I'm disappointed or that it will be short but sweet, so I'm going to talk about the ride experience and reasoning instead.I am pleased that SW8 will be located in Katanga Canyon, as it is a fairly low-key area of the park that hasn't really been invested in in terms of attractions since its opening, so it makes sense to develop this area. Although wooden roller-coasters are not my favourite coaster type, it is nice that the park have recognised that a big steel roller coaster may look slightly out of place in an African area, and by using natural materials for the coaster and related buildings, it will enhance the areas theme not hinder it. It will also deliver a completely different ride experience for guests.
In regards to storyline, they've already covered mining and rivers, so I would like to see something a little bit more original and different to the African stereotypes seen in many theme parks. I cant express enough how much I hope it will be an authentic and immersive experience with a linked pre-show, station show and theming elements throughout the ride. Id also like the theming to be quite detailed, with little pieces of theming and effects that subtly immerse you. Because I feel like the parks theming is fairly decent but more-"in your face" than detailed. For example, The Smiler has an amazing themed centre piece, but the rest is effectively white walls,so its impressive to look at but not immersive or atmospheric. Id hope for good planting and landscaping, detailed themed structures, little theming elements hidden away and other small pieces of design to tie the whole ride area together. It would also be nice if the creative team could tie the new rides story with the rest of Katanga Canyon and express this in the pre-show (or in another form), so it has some purpose and gives Katanga Canyon an extra layer of atmosphere and magic. Hopefully this would create an all-round entertaining attraction.
My final hope would be that Katanga Canyon is given some attention and refurbishment during the closed season before the new ride is opened, maybe with some new plants, a few new theming elements, new or improved audio and a new design on the park map to really give Katanga Canyon some new- life. Katanga Canyon has the most potential out of any area of the park to be a flagship area in my opinion, and this new attraction is a good opportunity to sprinkle some attention and magic and allow it to reach its full potential.
Either way, it is a very exciting development as any major ride always is. (despite many disagreeing, I would like to see a little bit of quirkiness or a unique element in the ride experience somewhere, be this merely a set of effects or something more, just to slightly distract from the fact its a cute little guy