July 17, 2013 |
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.
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.
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.
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March 19, 2014 |
The new Despicable Me Minion Mayhem motion simulator attraction coming to Universal Studios Hollywood puts riders through a relentless and chaotic minion training course full of slapstick humor. PHOTOS: Despicable Me Minion Mayhem at Universal Studios Hollywood Set to open in April, the 3-D attraction follows a story based on the "Despicable Me" animated films that starred Steve Carell as the super-villain Gru. The first two installments in the movie franchise grossed more than $1.5 billion worldwide with a third installment planned for 2017.
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.
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.
September 23, 2013 |
Success has finally caught up with Universal's Horror Nights as the gold standard of Halloween theme park events has grown too predictable, complacent and popular for its own good. After years of defining and redefining the bleeding edge of theme park terror, a combination of overwhelming crowds, shrinking space due to construction and a weak collection of haunted mazes delivered a triple whammy to Halloween Horror Nights this year at Universal Studios Hollywood. Photos: Halloween Horror Nights 2013 at Universal Studios Hollywood Crowds have become an increasing problem as Horror Nights has grown in popularity, but this year was unbearable.
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.
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.
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.