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Chronological Index of Articles and Content

2004 About Theme Parks


9/29/04 Six Flags' Record-Breaking Coaster will Rocket Riders from Here to Kingda Ka
A few years ago, the roller coaster wars were in full swing with manufacturers and parks routinely one-upping each other with taller, faster, and wackier thrill machines. Lately however, the sheer number of new coasters debuting each season has dropped, and, with the exception of Cedar Point's record-setting Top Thrill Dragster in 2003, the brinkmanship entered a period of détente. Until now. Six Flags Great Adventure will be unleashing Kingda Ka (Swahili for "omigod, what a ride"), a record-shattering rocket coaster, in 2005. Check out my preview and read the amazing stats for this monster.

9/28/04 Scaring Up Some California Fun
The Halloween-at-theme-parks mania began in California with the venerable Knott's Scary Farm, now celebrating its 32nd year. For a few years, Universal Hollywood joined the freak-fest, but it gave up the ghost a couple of seasons ago. Other Golden State theme parks, including the Six Flags parks, continue to host their own Halloween events, however. Check out my guide to this season's Halloween haunts at California theme parks.

9/7/04 A Festival of Frights: Six Flags Fright Fests 2004
Fear is a big part of Six Flags' appeal. Ultimately, it's all about fun. But that sense of apprehension we get when we stare up at one of Six Flags' diabolical roller coasters, and the feeling of mastery we experience when we disembark one of the beasts fulfills some primal urge lurking deep within our psyches. The Six Flags parks provide safe havens for us to conquer our demons. And at Halloween time, the Fright Fest events at Six Flags parks give us even more demons to conquer.

8/31/04 The Theme is Halloween at Florida Parks
Halloween has become a major deal at many theme parks with elaborate haunted houses, scary mazes, spook-filled shows, ghouls running amok down midways, and Halloween-themed rides. Screams, albeit a different kind than the coaster-induced variety that prevails in the warmer months, continue at theme parks into the fall. So, it's no surprise that Central Florida's theme park nexus features some mega-scary (and a couple not-so-scary) Halloween events. Get the lowdown on this year's haunted high jinx at Universal Orlando, Busch Gardens Tampa, Walt Disney World, and SeaWorld Orlando.

8/10/04 (Long) Island Oasis
From the tony Hamptons to the boardwalk-adorned Jones Beach, there's no shortage of water and ways to get wet on New York's Long Island. But smack in the middle of the island, miles from any beach, is a man-made oasis that's teeming with water worshippers in search of some major splashage. Read about Splish Splash, one of the country's finest water parks.

7/20/04 GhostRiders in the California Sky
When the Cedar Fair folks (the Cedar Point gang) bought Southern California's Knott's Berry Farm in the late 1990s, one of the first things they did was what they know best: They built a kick-ass coaster. GhostRider combines the traditional charm of a woodie with the sensibility of a modern-day thrill machine, and it offers a wonderfully smooth, airtime-filled, exhilarating ride. Read my review.

7/20/04 GhostRider Photo Gallery

7/20/04 Knott's Berry Farm Photo Gallery

6/26/04 An Xcelent--if Short--Coaster
Like the rest of Knott's Berry Farm, Xcelerator is a curious blend of the old and the new. While the California park melds its Old West ghost town with high-tech rides, the thrill machine blends a late-1950s motif with a new-age coaster experience. Using a sophisticated hydraulic launch, the train positively screams out of the station; if your hair wasn't slicked back into a Fonz do before you boarded the coaster, it will be about 2.3 seconds after the ride begins and you're Xcelorating 82 mph towards a 205-foot tower. Read my review.

6/8/04 Waffles not Included
The green ogre is bringing in plenty of green for Dreamworks as "Shrek 2" burns up the box office. It seems we can't get enough of the CGI toons. Want more? Head over to Universal Studios Hollywood, Florida, or Japan for Shrek 4-D. Channeling the popular films’ quasi-anarchic and wildly funny attitude, the attraction is a romp into the fairy-tale tweaking kingdom of Duloc and its quipster inhabitants. Using every 3-D and "4-D" trick in the book (and then some with innovative new features), Shrek 4-D is a total hoot. With its lovable characters and rapid-fire jokes, you’ll be screaming...with laughter. Read my review.

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