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BUSINESS
August 8, 2013 | By Hugo Martín
ORLANDO, Fla. - Passengers waiting to board the Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride at Walt Disney World used to stand in long lines that snaked along the sun-baked pavement. Riders are now ushered into an air-conditioned tent, where kids can play on slides, a climbing tower and a toy fire engine while parents wait for the buzz of a pager telling them it's time to ride the attraction. "It's so much better this way," Russ Spence of Richmond, Va., said as he relaxed in the tent, waiting to take his 3-year-old grandson on the ride.
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NEWS
July 7, 2013 | By Brady MacDonald
At first I thought it was too early to look ahead at the new attractions coming to U.S. theme parks in 2014, but then I realized a number of big rides have already been announced and many more are already in the planning stages. Photos: Most anticipated new U.S. theme park rides for 2014 It already seems like 2014 is shaping up as a good year for ride enthusiasts and theme park fans. Big industry players have announced major projects, and several smaller parks are planning to roll out significant additions.
BUSINESS
July 23, 2013 | By Hugo Martín and Adolfo Flores
The death of a roller coaster rider in Texas has focused attention on the vexing problem theme park operators face trying to accommodate passengers of various shapes in one-size-fits-all seats. News reports about a woman who fell to her death from a Texas roller coaster suggest her girth may have played a role. The accident follows one in 2011 in which an Army veteran who had lost both legs fighting in Iraq plummeted to his death from a New York roller coaster. Theme park ride designers and operators say the nation's obesity problem and the improved mobility of people who are missing limbs have forced them to bar more patrons from thrill rides that are designed for passengers of certain proportions.
BUSINESS
March 22, 2013 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
The gig: Tim Burkhart, 54, is corporate vice president of maintenance and construction for Six Flags Entertainment Corp. , the parent company of Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia and 17 other parks in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Burkhart's resume is pretty short. He has spent his entire career at Six Flags, starting in 1977 when he was in high school and worked as a ride operator on Revolution, the first looping roller coaster. It was meant to be a temporary job to raise money for some senior-year fun. Instead, Burkhart said, he fell in love with the park and its employees.
NEWS
July 6, 2012 | By Brady MacDonald, Los Angeles Times staff writer
My palms have been sweating for weeks in anticipation of Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom , the new drop tower debuting Saturday at Six Flags Magic Mountain. > Photos: Lex Luthor drop tower at Six Flags Magic Mountain My apprehension stemmed not from the thrill ride's record-setting 400-foot height or 85 mph speed, but rather from the drop tower's relative proximity to the Superman: Escape from Krypton shuttle coaster. You see, the Lex Luthor drop tower is attached to both sides of the 415-foot-tall Superman L-shaped track, adding to the excitement of both rides.
NEWS
June 23, 2013 | By Brady MacDonald
That old adage holds true with the new Full Throttle roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain: Looks can be deceiving. Photos: Full Throttle launch coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain From the ground, you ask yourself: What's the big deal? It seems like nothing more than a combination of two aging Knott's Berry Farm rides: The 1978 Montezooma's Revenge shuttle looper and the 2002 Xcelerator top-hat coaster. When you see riders screaming with delight through the world's tallest vertical loop and over the ingenious top-hat element you think: This might be alright.
NEWS
June 27, 2012 | By Brady MacDonald, This post has been updated. See the notes below for details.
Disney plans to introduce the Avengers, X-Men,  Spider-Man and other Marvel characters in a theme-park setting for the first time since acquiring the comic book company in 2009. PHOTOS: Marvel characters coming to Middle East theme park The Marvel Adventure family entertainment center is expected to open in late 2013 in the United Arab Emirates with superhero-themed attractions, restaurants and shops. The eight-acre indoor mini theme park will be part of the $5-billion City of Arabia entertainment, commercial and residential development in Dubailand.
NEWS
December 12, 2013 | By Brady MacDonald
A new era of towering thrill rides debuting over the next few years promises to alter the skylines of theme parks around the world. Photos: New towering thrill rides on the horizon Free-fall drop towers and skyrocketing space shots have been part of the theme park landscape for decades, but the next generation of sky-scraping attractions will significantly ramp up pulse rates while reaching once unimagined heights. Not too long ago, 300 feet was considered tall in the theme park universe.
NEWS
July 17, 2013 | By Brady MacDonald
The first of 10 theme parks planned for a 2,000-acre resort billed as the "Orlando of China" is expected to open in late 2013 after three years of construction. The $2-billion marine-based Chimelong Ocean Kingdom theme park on Hengqin Island in China is to be connected by bridge to Macau and by ferry to Hong Kong. Chimelong Group already operates a resort about 75 miles northwest of Hong Kong, in Guangzhou, that includes the Chimelong Paradise theme park as well as a safari park, water park, crocodile farm and hotels.
NEWS
June 5, 2013 | By Brady MacDonald, Los Angeles Times
"Insane Coaster Wars" would be the ultimate road trip for any ride enthusiast who had about $100,000 to drop on a single vacation and the fortitude to travel around the world. Photos: 28 thrill rides competing in 'Insane Coaster Wars' Premiering at 8:30 p.m. Sunday on the Travel Channel, the internationally themed second season of "Coaster Wars" will take viewers on a virtual ride aboard 28 roller coasters in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, Australia and the United States.
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