You can count on Six Flags to deliver thrills, and next season the parks will keep the adrenaline pumping. Highlights will include two record-breaking tower rides, the New England SkyScreamer and Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom, as well as the wood-steel hybrid coaster, Goliath. Read about these and more new attractions (every park will be getting something new) at the 2014 Six Flags Ride Guide.
Photo: Six Flags.
Walt Disney famously said, "I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing -- that it was all started by a mouse." While Mickey was indeed integral to Walt's fame and fortune, it really all began in Chicago. He and his older brother Roy were born in a modest wood frame home built by their father, Elias, on the outskirts of the Midwest city. The Walt Disney Birthplace Historical Preservation Project recently kicked off to restore the home and open it to the public. Read More...
The avant-garde, theater-of-the-absurd circus troupe, Cirque du Soleil, will be bringing its traveling show, Kooza, to PortAventura, the Spanish theme park near Barcelona, for the 2014 season. Like other Cirque shows, it will feature feats of derring-do, clowning, and new-agey music in its signature style. The show is loosely based around a narrative about a loner making his way in an offbeat kingdom.
Disney World offers the Cirque show, La Nouba, in residence at a permanent theater in Downtown Disney. The PortAventura show will be staged in one of Cirque's temporary circus tents.
The Spanish park has been on a tear lately. Last year, it introduced one of Europe's tallest water slides at its Costa Caribe water park. In 2011, it debuted the highly regarded Shambhala, the continent's tallest roller coaster. PortAventura officials are promising an additional attraction for 2014, although they have not revealed its name or any details yet. There are plans to add a massive development next to the theme park resort that will include casinos, a retail complex, theaters, and as many as 6000 hotel rooms.
- Furius Baco- PortAventura's wild launched steel coaster
In 2010, Legoland California opened the world's first Lego-themed water park. Next year, the relatively small park (which is located within the Legoland theme park, but requires a separate admission), will expand with a new Legends of Chima area. Based on the Lego toy line and the TV series it inspired, the park will introduce a wave pool, an interactive water play area, and a build-your-own-boat attraction featuring the distinctive Legends of Chima animal characters.
As with the rest of the park, the new area will be geared to a 12-and-under audience. Read more about Legoland California.
Photo: Legoland. Used with permission.
While opening day is months away, it's time to meet the roller coaster class of 2014. The new rides coming to parks next season are an eclectic bunch. There will be some highly themed coaster-based attractions, some highly thrilling bugs-in-your-teeth heart-stoppers, some highly original takes on longstanding concepts, and some highly, um, high rides. Do you want to know what's on the way to Coney Island (a new Thunderbolt), Six Flags Magic Mountain, Disney World, Universal Orlando, Kings Island, and elsewhere? Sure you do, because you are a coaster nerd (which I can say since I proudly fly my own coaster freak flag). Head over to the Roller Coaster Ride Guide 2014 for a rundown, and get ready to drool.
From the coaster class of 2013:
Photo: Story Land
Enough with the socks and the cheap air hockey tables. Give your family (or yourself?) what they really want this holiday: a trip to a theme park. You can save some of your hard-earned dough by checking out the latest deals I've assembled from the park meccas in Florida and California. You might even have enough money left over to pick up a few packs of socks. Here are some highlights of the offers:
- Save up to 25% at a Disneyland Resort Hotel
- 2014 SeaWorld San Diego Fun Card- Unlimited admission to SeaWorld San Diego for all of 2014 and the rest of 2013. (There are some blackout dates.) Cost is the same as a one-day ticket at the gate.
- Families With Little Ones: Vacation Package Offer- Disney World hotel, park tickets, and dining plan packages at special prices for families with young children.
Theme parks want to get you high in 2014 -- real high. Yesterday, I shared the news with you about the tallest water slide in the world coming to Kansas City. A few weeks back I got you hyperventilating in anticipation of the world's tallest tower ride coming to New Jersey. Today, let's take a look at the world's tallest roller coaster that is on its way to Florida.
Details are sketchy (not the least of which is that no location, name, track layout, or features have been revealed), but from what has been announced, the ride will be a doozy. (Does anybody call anything a "doozy" anymore, or am I demonstrating how hopelessly unhip I have become? But I digress.) The ride, which its manufacturer is calling a Polercoaster model, will not just exceed the current height record held by Kingda Ka, it will shatter it by more than 60 feet. Read more about the unique, 520-foot coaster coming to Florida.
- The Best Roller Coasters in Florida
- Manta at SeaWorld Orlando- Review of the wonderful flying coaster.
Photo: US Thrill Rides.
Have you ever braved Summit Plummet at Disney World's Blizzard Beach? At 120 feet, it is one of the world's tallest speed slides and an incredibly thrilling ride. Now imagine climbing another 50 feet and staring over the edge of a 170-foot sheer drop.
That's what visitors to Schlitterbahn Kansas City will face in 2014 when the water park opens Verruckt. The record-breaking ride -- should we call it a hyper water slide? -- will claim the title for the tallest and fastest in the world. And it will throw in a 50-foot water coaster camelback hill powered by a surge of Master Blaster water jets to boot. Sounds insane, no? Read more about Verruckt.
Snacks are almost irresistible at theme parks. Munching on popcorn, grabbing an ice cream, or enjoying other goodies is nearly as much of the core experience as riding roller coasters and posing for pictures with bizarre-looking characters. The seasonal parks typically have the same tried and true items on their menu -- not that there's anything wrong with that -- but the destination parks often have many more tempting treats. And then there is Disney World, the behemoth six-park, multi-hotel resort in Florida. It has, oh I don't know, about a gazillion different wonderful things to eat across its 40-odd-square-mile campus. How is a snack-loving park fan supposed to deal with that?
Not to worry my fellow coaster-obsessed friends. I've assembled a crack team of celebrated and authoritative judges to identify the best restaurants and things to eat at Mickey's Florida resort. I've already shared their picks for Disney World's top ten best table service restaurants. Now, I give you (courtesy of the judges), the top 10 best Disney World snacks and desserts. There are some items that even casual fans might guess would be on the list, but I guarantee you that you will discover some hidden gems to enjoy on your next visit. Let the drooling begin.
Photo: Walt Disney World. Used with permission.
While it isn't quite as well themed or landscaped as Disney World's Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach, Aquatica, the separate-admission water park adjacent to SeaWorld Orlando, is nonetheless wonderful and has some innovative and thrilling attractions. In 2014, it is set to get another attraction, Ihu's Breakaway Falls. In touting its new ride, the park may be engaging in some dubious hype. Read More...