May 27, 2012 |
SANDUSKY, Ohio - As an amusement parks blogger, I have visited most of the big theme parks in Southern California and central Florida, but my roller-coaster résumé was a little thin when it came to the parks in between. So last summer my wife, Nancy, our 11-year-old daughter, Hannah, and I climbed aboard more than 70 coasters in 10 days at theme parks in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We each had established a few rules for our journey across America's Coaster Belt. Hannah was willing to ride coasters reaching 65 mph, topping out at 200 feet and going upside down three times.
May 2, 2012 |
Six Flags Magic Mountain will reclaim sole ownership of the Roller Coaster Capital of the World title with the announcement that arch-rival Cedar Point will remove one of its 17 coasters before the start of the summer season. PHOTOS: Cedar Point vs. Magic Mountain Citing declining ridership and increased maintenance costs, Ohio's Cedar Point said it will remove and demolish the 1979 Wildcat coaster to make room for the upcoming $6-million Luminosity nighttime spectacular, which is set to debut on June 8. PHOTOS: Luminosity nighttime spectacular at Cedar Point "Cedar Point remains committed to being the roller coaster capital of the world," the park said in a statement.
March 13, 2012 |
A racing wooden roller coaster debuting this spring at a Chinese theme park will feature a first-of-its-kind element in which riders in dueling trains reach out toward each other and attempt to exchange high-fives. Dubbed the High Five by the American ride designers, the wooden coaster opening in April at Happy Valley Wuhan will be officially known as Dragon Wings. Riders traveling in parallel trains along banked tracks during the unique High Five element will tilt inward 90 degrees, allowing their upward raised hands to almost touch during the near-miss moment.
March 13, 2012 |
For most people, a 400-foot free fall from a steel tower is a hair-raising adventure. Not for thrill-ride enthusiast John Gerard, who can't wait to try what Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia is billing as the world's tallest vertical drop ride, set to open Memorial Day. "I'm really excited about this," the San Diego doctor said. "I think there are many others like me too. " The ride is the latest example of what theme park fans call the thrill ride "arms race," global competition among theme park operators to set world records for speed, height, distance or greatest number of corkscrew turns in a ride.
January 4, 2012
City Councilman Jose Huizar is asking his colleagues to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles. It's a great idea. Or rather, it would have been a great idea three or four years ago — before the city purported to regulate the storefront cannabis-selling shops. The idea would not be to ban dispensaries forever but to track court rulings, determine what regulations are and are not allowable, and then construct a smart and enforceable ordinance. But it's too late for that now. L.A. city government took its seat on a legal roller coaster when it first signaled that it couldn't or wouldn't block dispensaries from opening, then stayed for a second ride when it adopted and tried to enforce ordinances regulating where and when purveyors could operate.
December 2, 2011 |
It already looks like 2012 will prove to be a good year for globetrotting ride enthusiasts as theme parks in Asia, Europe and South America are planning to roll out major new attractions. > Photos: Best new international theme park rides for 2012 Theme parks around the world are preparing a highly anticipated slate for 2012 that includes record-setting roller coasters, one-of-a-kind attractions, pulse-quickening thrill rides and family-friendly themed lands. Since it is still early, I'll update my Top 20 over the coming months as new projects are announced.
November 4, 2011 |
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will keep his job, for the moment. Papandreou squeaked through a confidence vote in Parliament early Saturday, but only by indicating he would step down if necessary to allow formation of a unity government that would carry out Europe's latest plan to combat a raging debt crisis. Papandreou's narrow win, on a 153-145 vote, capped a roller-coaster week that saw him wreak international havoc by calling a referendum on that same bailout plan, a move he later retracted under heavy pressure at home and abroad.
September 4, 2011 |
Reporting from Salt Lake City -- It is five hours before game time and Spring Mobile Ballpark, the picturesque home of the minor league Salt Lake Bees, is empty except for two figures on the field. Reggie Willits, wearing a gray T-shirt and black athletic shorts with No. 7 on one thigh, is at the plate, bat in hand, honing his craft with a hitting coach. For Willits, 30, an outfielder unassuming in character and undersized at 5 feet 9 and 185 pounds, this does not involve slugging baseballs over the fence; in 414 major league games, he has never hit a home run. Instead, he spends 45 minutes bunting balls toward third base and first, polishing one of the fundamental skills he used to carve out a niche as a valued Angels reserve from 2007 until this past June.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 27, 2011 |
Knott's Berry Farm has reached an undisclosed settlement with the family of a 12-year-old boy who was seriously injured when the Xcelerator roller coaster's launch cable snapped during a 2009 accident. Every moment of the harrowing September 2009 accident — from the initial thrill to the ensuing terror — was captured by an on-board video camera. It shows Kyle Wheeler sitting in the front row of Xcelerator when the roller coaster's launch cable whips toward the riders and splits the fiberglass car in half.
August 25, 2011 |
A survivor of Hurricane Katrina is drawing big crowds at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia. The Road Runner Express roller coaster was moved to the Southern California amusement park from Six Flags New Orleans, where it operated for more than 10 years until the 2005 hurricane inundated the now-closed park. Reclaimed roller coasters are not new to the theme park industry. But more rides have been recycled in the last decade with the closure of several parks that have been victims of the economic recession or natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.