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Roller Coasters

July 10, 2012 | By Hugo Martin
Two men who say they were barred from riding a roller coaster at Universal Studios Hollywood because they are missing limbs have sued the theme park. Angel Castelan, whose forearms were amputated after an electrical accident as a child, and Marvin Huezo, whose legs were amputated after a car accident, say they were kept off Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride, an indoor roller coaster. The suit, filed last month in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, contends the men were kept off the ride in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. A spokeswoman for Universal Studios Hollywood said the park does not comment on pending litigation.
June 26, 2012 | By Brady MacDonald
The new "Insane Coaster Wars" coming to the Travel Channel this summer lets viewers take a virtual ride on many of the best roller coasters in the United States right from the comfort of their living room couch. PHOTOS: 24 rides competing in "Insane Coaster Wars" Premiering at 9 p.m. on July 8, each themed half-hour episode will let viewers vote online for their favorite coasters in six categories: speed, height, G-forces, inversions, wooden coasters and suspended coasters.
June 2, 2012 | By Jon Healey
It's been almost three years since the U.S. recession officially ended, but the country remains stuck in a roller-coaster economy. The table above from the Bureau of Economic Analysis says it all -- economic growth speeds up, then slows down, then speeds up, and now it's slowing down again. It's as if there's some kind of invisible ceiling that we can't break through. What's worse, the ceiling isn't all that high -- GDP growth between 3% and 4%. If the United States is to recapture the low unemployment rates of the mid-2000s, before the subprime mortgage meltdown, it needs a sustained run of GDP growth that's solidly above 3%. In the first three months of 2012, by contrast, GDP grew a meager 1.9%.
May 28, 2012 | By Brady MacDonald
The smooth, quick and quiet Manta family coaster that debuted over Memorial Day  weekend at SeaWorld San Diego is just the type of thrilling ride the marine park sorely needs. PHOTOS: Manta roller coaster at SeaWorld San Diego The knock on the sea life show-heavy park has always been that it doesn't have enough rides. Over the past few years, SeaWorld has added a number of kiddie rides, but this summer the park finally got around to satisfying the tween set. For a 30-foot-tall family coaster with a top speed of 43 mph, the $35-million Manta manages to pack a lot of surprises into its modest proportions while even delivering a pair of firsts for a U.S. coaster.
May 27, 2012
If you go Cedar Point, 1 Cedar Point Drive, Sandusky, Ohio; (419) 627-2350, . Must: Cedar Downs Racing Derby, one of the last racing carousels in the world. Miss: The miserable Mantis stand-up coaster, which left my head aching. Kennywood, 4800 Kennywood Blvd., West Mifflin, Pa.; (412) 461-0500, . Must: The Sky Rocket is ideal for kids transitioning from junior coasters to metal monsters. Miss: Garfield's Nightmare, a glow-in-the-dark comic strip makeover of the 1901 Old Mill ride that ruins the park's oldest attraction.
May 27, 2012 | By Brady MacDonald, Los Angeles Times staff writer
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 | By Brady MacDonald, Los Angeles Times
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 | By Brady MacDonald, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
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 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
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.
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