June 2, 2013 |
I was overjoyed when I first heard SeaWorld San Diego was going to build an Aquatica water park. The original Aquatica at SeaWorld Orlando in Florida was an instant success, setting a new standard for excellence and excess in the water park industry when it opened in 2008. Today, Aquatica Orlando's combination of one-of-a-kind water slides and up-close animal interactions attracts 1.5 million visitors per year, making it one of the Top 10 water parks in the world . Photos: SeaWorld San Diego's Aquatica water park After a preview visit on Thursday, it pains me to say all Aquaticas are not created equal.
September 2, 2013 |
Rather than a big new ride for 2014, Six Flags Magic Mountain will unveil several smaller attractions throughout the year. The Valencia amusement park will run a couple of coasters backward in the spring, add a kiddie coaster and a pair of water slides in the summer and expand its Halloween offerings in the fall. After introducing the Full Throttle looping launch coaster this year at Magic Mountain, it makes sense that Six Flags would spread the wealth to other locations in the amusement park chain in 2014.
March 26, 2014 |
In the hyperbolic battle for the self-proclaimed title of "Roller Coaster Capital of the World," Six Flags Magic Mountain will jump out to a seemingly insurmountable lead this summer as rival Cedar Point continues to fade in the race for amusement park supremacy. The Valencia, Calif., and Sandusky, Ohio, parks have fought for decades over the grandiose title bestowed on the park with the most coasters. The current score: Magic Mountain 19 and Cedar Point 16 (or 17, depending on who's counting)
July 7, 2013 |
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.
March 11, 2014 |
Only at Disneyland would they tear down an old and dilapidated gold mining town in order to build a new and identical gold mining town and make it look old and dilapidated again. "The goal was to bring it back to exactly the way it was," said David Smith of Disneyland's facilities and maintenance department, which oversaw the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster rehabilitation project. The "wildest ride in the wilderness" is expected to reopen to the general public on March 17 after a 14-month rehabilitation, the most extensive overhaul since the ride opened in 1979.
May 8, 2013 |
The eternal problem with Tomorrowland is that the commonplace reality of today inevitably catches up to and ultimately surpasses the ultramodern imagined future of yesterday. Disneyland's forward-looking land of tomorrow has seen many evolutions since opening day in 1955. Through the years, there have been major expansions in 1959 (Monorail), 1977 (Space Mountain) and 1986 (Star Tours) as well as complete makeovers in 1967 (New Tomorrowland) and 1998 (New New Tomorrowland). The current iteration has a retro-futuristic science fiction fantasy theme that was designed to be a bit more timeless but nonetheless is showing its age. Photos: Top 10 Tomorrowland rides of the past With the release of "Iron Man 3" and plans for "Star Wars" and "Tron" sequels in the works, I thought it would be a good time to do a bit of "blue sky" dreaming about what Walt Disney Imagineering might have in mind for the New New New Tomorrowland.
July 6, 2013 |
It already seems like 2014 is shaping up as a great year for ride enthusiasts around the world, as a number of new theme parks are planned for Europe and several major attractions are in the works for Asia. PHOTOS: Best new international theme park rides for 2014 Consider this a tentative and fluid list of new attractions on tap at international parks (outside the United States). As is often the case, some projects may get delayed while new ones will get announced. Since it is still early, I'll update my top 14 over the coming months as new projects are announced.
July 11, 2013 |
Knott's Berry Farm will add six new haunted mazes for Halloween Haunt 2013 and bring back Elvira Mistress of the Dark for her first show at the Buena Park theme park in more than a decade. The 41st annual Knott's Scary Farm will start Sept. 26 and run on select nights through Nov. 2. The granddaddy of Halloween events will feature 12 mazes, six shows and four scare zones scattered throughout the theme park. Knott's has made the wise decision to trim the quantity of its mazes in favor of quality as Halloween Haunt continues to compete with Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood, which has delivered an increasingly superior haunted event in recent years.
November 5, 2013 |
During a recent visit to Paris I made my first pilgrimage to a Disney theme park outside the United States. For years I have been reading about the majestic beauty of the Magic Kingdom-style park at Disneyland Paris, the dysfunctional violation of all things Disney that is Walt Disney Studios next door and the promise of what the future holds for both parks. TOP 10: Disneyland Paris | Walt Disney Studios So let's step back for a moment and take a long, hard look at what's right, wrong and next at the two theme parks serving as Disney's European outpost in France.
March 31, 2012 |
Hard-core Harry Potter fans who devoured the books, camped out for the movies and trekked through the theme park now have a new way to relive the boy wizard's adventures. PHOTOS: Making of Harry Potter studio tour Debuting Saturday, the Making of Harry Potter behind-the-scenes tour at theWarner Bros.studios in England will let wizards, mudbloods and muggles pull back the curtain on the movie-making secrets of the most successful film series of all time. Located 20 miles outside of London, the three-hour self-guided tour will take visitors past sets, props, costumes, models and special effects exhibits from the eight "Harry Potter" movies.