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Index of 2004 Articles and Content on the About Theme Parks Site

12/30/03 - That's a LOT of Space Mountain Riders 2003 Top Ten Theme Parks. 14 million people marched down Main Street U.S.A. at the Magic Kingdom in Florida's Walt Disney World in 2003, according to "Amusement Business" magazine. No wonder the place feels a little crowded. As we bid adieu to the year that was, discover the other nine parks that make up the top-ten list for the most attended North American theme parks.

12/23/03 - Don't Make Mine Manhattan To summarize the Manhattan Express roller coaster at Las Vegas' New York, New York Hotel & Casino in a word: OUCH! Its over-the-shoulder harnesses incorporate side-to-side head restraints. When the coaster cranks into high gear, its rough ride turns passengers into human pinballs. For riders caught in the head banger's brawl, this is one New York minute that can't end too soon.

12/16/03 - Sleigh Rides Ho ho...oh oh. Only 8 more shopping days till Christmas. And if it's Hanukkah you celebrate, well you've only got 3 days to rustle up some presents. Have no fear park fans. About Theme Parks is here with a bunch of gift suggestions for the theme park lovers on your list.

12/9/03 - Over the River and Through the Woods to...the Theme Park? Defying conventional wisdom, some theme parks well beyond the temperate confines of Orlando and L.A. are opening up their gates to welcome hardy guests seeking holiday cheer. Let's check out some of the hinterland parks where guests can find holiday hoopla, including Dollywood, Hersheypark, Six Flags Great Adventure, and Georgia's Wild Adventures.

12/2/03 - California's Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell, Jingle Bell Parks Dreaming of a white Christmas? Then get the heck out of Southern California. But if you want some holiday hoopla along with some theme park fun, you've come to the right place. Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, Legoland, and the San Diego Zoo join in the merriment, and About Theme Parks has the details (and some cool photos).

11/25/03 - They're Dying to Meet You at the Haunted Mansion An overnight sensation (that was actually many years in the making), the classic Haunted Mansion ride has remained enormously popular; casual and ardent fans alike typically pair it with Pirates of the Caribbean as the archetypal Disney attractions. Here is my full review, plus links to behind-the-screams secrets revealed, Museum of the Weird facts about the ride, a Haunted Mansion Photo Gallery, a history of the attraction from Disney legend Marty Sklar--even the lyrics to "Grim Grinning Ghosts," the Haunted Mansion theme song.

11/18/03 - It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year--at Florida's Parks Twas the nights (and days) before Christmas, and all through Florida, plenty of creatures were stirring, especially a mouse. OK, that doesn't even rhyme and it's kinda lame. But maybe it will get you to check out the holiday events planned for this year at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando. Special parades, tons of lights, giant Christmas trees, and more await you.

11/11/03 - This Ride Goes Inside--and It's Fun, Fun for Everyone Oh, the places you'll go at Islands of Adventure. The most whimsical and charming "island" at the Universal Orlando park, and the one expressly geared for young children, is Seuss Landing. Its showcase ride, The Cat in the Hat, brings guests face to face with the beloved Seussian characters and into their wacky, wonderful world.

11/4/03 - Nevada Casino lets it Ride As you drive south from Vegas towards L.A., the desert extends in all directions until it meets brick-red, scraggly hills. This picture-perfect scene goes on for miles until...what IS that peculiar thing in the distance? Like a yellow phoenix rising from the sands, the incredibly tall, meandering track of the Desperado roller coaster punctures the blue sky. Check out the overview and review.

10/28/03 - Take a Sneak Peek Under the Mummy's Wraps When it opens next spring at Universal Studio parks in Hollywood and Florida, the highly anticipated Revenge of the Mummy will be a "category-buster," according to its designers. Melding a dark ride's highly immerssive, rich storytelling environment with a wild launched coaster experience, this looks to be the next generation of theme park attractions. Check out my exclusive preview, including scene-by-scene details of the attraction.

10/21/03 - A Horrifying--and Excellent--Halloween Adventure From the moment you enter the alterna-universe of Universal Orlando's Halloween Horror Nights, it's abundantly clear that this is not your father's theme park. That's not to say that Halloween Horror Nights isn't incredibly creative, exciting, and a whole lot of fun--it is. But, it's so un-theme park-like, it may have Walt Disney turning over in his grave. Check out my overview. and Photo Gallery.

10/14/03 - It's a Small Solar System After All From the start, the Disney theme parks have married technology and storytelling to whisk guests away to fantastic places. Mission: SPACE, the new, groundbreaking, awe-inspiring attraction at Epcot delivers sensations unlike any you have ever felt (unless you're an astronaut) and replicates space travel with an astonishing degree of reality. It figuratively--and literally-- takes your breath away. Read the overview and review.

10/7/03 - A Picture's Worth a Thousand Whoops Nothing says "Halloween" quite like the menacing, blood-spattered faces of blue-haired demons hell-bent on reducing you to a quivering wreck, don't you think? Let's take a pictorial journey to Six Flags, Knott's Scary Farm, Busch Gardens, and other theme parks around the U.S. and see--really SEE--what the fetid fiends have in store for us this year.

9/30/03 - Howlin' and Screamin' The weird and spooky fun kicks into high gear this weekend when a bunch of theme parks celebrate the Halloween season by trying to scare their guests half to death. Check out the haunted happenings at Cedar Point, Kings Island, Kennywood, and other parks.

9/23/03 - Farm Frights The Halloween-at-theme-parks mania began in California with the venerable Knott's Scary Farm, now celebrating its 31st year. The popular freak-out fest provides the template for most of the other haunted theme park events in the state and around the world. Herewith, the California places to find plenty of tricks and treats this year.

9/16/03 - Bugs Says "Boo!" Guide to the Six Flags Fright Fest Halloween events. 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 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 give us even more demons to conquer.

9/9/03 - Florida Parks Get into the Spirits
Screams, albeit a different kind than the coaster-induced variety that prevails in the warmer months, now continue well into the fall thanks to the many Halloween events at parks. So it's no surprise that the theme park capital of Florida features some mega-scary (and one not-so-scary) paeans to pumpkins and panic. Let's check out the frightful Florida fun (enough with the alliteration already!).

9/6/03 - Rider Killed on Disneyland's Big Thunder Mountain
In a very sad piece of news, Marcelo Torres, 22, of Gardena, Calif., was thrown from the popular Big Thunder Mountain Railroad coaster at California's Disneyland theme park and died at the scene. Ten others were injured during the September 5 accident.

8/26/03 - Z-Tickets: The 10 Worst Things About Theme Parks
I'm coining the term "Z-Tickets" to highlight what I think are among the worst that theme parks have to offer. Not individual attractions per se. Think of Z-Tickets as the citations that fans like you would write if you could issue a citizen's arrest to theme park, water park, and amusement park officials.

8/19/03 - They'll be Slidin' Down the Mountain
Mountain Creek in northern New Jersey is not like most water parks. Built into the side of a mountain, just getting through the main gate and over to the lockers involves trudging up a steep path. Most of the rides use the mountain's natural terrain and don't rise above the ground. And what wild rides! Even the park's "family" raft ride appears to be designed for a family of crazy thrill seekers.

8/12/03 - Donald's not the Only Duck in Town
Every day at 10:50 a.m., the red carpet is unfurled in The Peabody Orlando's grand lobby. Classical music fills the air and guests jockey for prime viewing areas, cameras at the ready, in anticipation of the VIPs. Then, in they waddle. Real live ducks (as opposed to the animatronic animals found elsewhere in this, the theme park capital of the world). It's a charming scene, and the official mascots help give The Peabody Orlando, one of the area's most elegant hotels, a bit of whimsy. Read about the upscale, elegant property.

8/5/03 - Thrill Rides Fit for a King
Sure, the Nickelodeon area is adorable and the SpongeBob SquarePants 3D motion simulator ride is a hoot, but Paramount's Kings Dominion is primarily about the thrills. Screams emanate from every corner of the Virginia park as riders challenge a wild arsenal of coasters, including three unique launched thrill machines and a trio of woodies.

7/29/03 - Strip Down on the Las Vegas Strip
After you've lost all of your money at the craps table, peel off your clothes and jump into the wave pool at Wet 'n Wild Las Vegas. It won't bring back any of your hard-earned cash, but it will cool you down. While you're at it, why not scare yourself silly on the water park's incredible Bomb Bay speed slide. What have you got to lose...your money is gone anyways.

7/22/03 - Coney Island's Spook-A-Rama Still Keeping Riders in the Dark
While it may not have the cachet of Nathan's hot dogs, the Cyclone roller coaster, or the Wonder Wheel, the Spook-A-Rama at New York's Coney Island is nevertheless a seminal piece of living amusement park history. One of the few remaining classic haunted attractions, enthusiasts consider the Spook to be the Sistine Chapel of dark rides by. Read on mortals...IF YOU DARE!

7/15/03 - Wrestler Mick Foley Gets a Kick out of Santa's Village
He's naughty and nice. He's a revered pro wrestler whose brutal matches earned him the "Hardcore Legend" honorary title. But he's also a fun-loving dad who has a special fondness for New Hampshire's wonderful theme park, Sants's Village.

7/15/03 - Oh What Fun it is to Ride
This circa-1952 park in New Hampshire's White Mountains is ooz ing with charm and a warm glow of nostalgia. It's a picture-perfect Currier & Ives ode to Santa and all things Christmas. A wonderful park for families with young children.

7/5/03 - Yo Ho, Yo Ho, the Pirates Ride for Me
Check out the seminal Pirates of the Caribbean E-Ticket attraction, including a review, some below-deck insights from Disney Imagineering legend Marty Sklar, a 16-photo gallery--even the lyrics to the rousing "Yo Ho" song. Drink up, me 'earties!

6/24/03 - Hasta la Vista-Vision He said he'd be back. While Arnold does his monosyllabic best to get a rise out of machines (and raise a ton of dough) with Terminator 3, cyborg lovers can also check out the cutting-edge Terminator 2: 3D at the Universal Studios parks.

6/17/03 - Lose Some Wait Riding Dumbo is an archetypal Disney theme park experience. But the 90-or-so seconds of pure joy is often preceded by another archetypal Disney experience: the dreaded 45-or-so minutes spent standing in line. Learn how to bypass queues with Fastpass.

6/10/03 - Hulk Roller Coaster is...Incredible The Hulk will be generating some green at multiplexes this summer. But the big guy's Islands of Adventure coaster has been turning riders green for a few years. You haven't truly lived until you've experienced the Hulk's wild uphill launch.

6/3/03 - Chowdah, lobstah, and coastahs It takes nerves of steel to ride Superman: Ride of Steel, the world's best coaster. That's one of many reasons to pahk your cah at Six Flags New England in Massachusetts.

5/27/03 - (Really) High Anxiety Las Vegas' Stratosphere Tower will be debuting what just may turn out to be the world's most terrifying ride later this summer. It will certainly be among the world's highest. Canda's Marineland will be welcoming an extraordinarily tall ride also.

5/20/03 - The Next Generation in Theme Park Rides The Las Vegas Hilton's Star Trek: The Experience transports guests into the 24th century for an astonishing 25-minute immersion into the Trek oeuvre, complete with live actors, multiple sets, and Klingons. Resistance is futile; it's holodeck nirvana.

5/9/03 - Disney's SPACE Oddity Are you ready to blast off in Epcot's new E-Ticket ride, Mission: SPACE? Well it's T-minus a few weeks and counting. What the heck will happen inside the shrouded-in-secrecy ride? Beats me. But, here's what I think MAY happen.

5/6/03 - Disney's Abominable Yet-E-Ticket Coaster Disney World 's Animal Kingdom features incredible opportunities to view wildlife, but it comes up somewhat short in the attraction department. That will change for the better in late 2005 when the park introduces Expedition Everest.

4/29/03 - Mouse Houses Got a gang heading to Orlando? You could cram into a bunch of puny hotel rooms. Or, you could pool your funds and stay at an expansive--but not expensive--multi-bedroom Best Western IPG Home. Speaking of pools, each home comes with a private pool.

4/22/03 - Hurricanes are Brewing at Six Flags For 2003, Six Flags is sliding some dough to the water parks at Ohio's World of Adventure and Six Flags New England in Massachusetts. The parks, both known as Hurricane Harbor, will double their capacities with new slides and other features.

4/15/03 - Water, Water (Parks) Everywhere ...and in the drink you'll drop! Water parks are riding a wave of incredible popularity. Find out where to get wet with About Theme Park's brand new find-a-water park feature. Search for nearly 300 US water parks, arranged by state.

4/9/03 - The Non-Goofy Side of Orlando Orlando is synonymous with theme parks. But, the area offers some wonderful sights that don't involve costumed characters or rat-maze lines. Check out some cultural attractions and recreational opportunities, including airboat rides and parasailing.

3/25/03 - Is it OK to Visit Parks During the War? Wartime brings uncertainty and apprehension as it poses questions for people thinking about visiting theme parks. Amid heightened U.S. security advisories, are parks safe? Is it appropriate to have fun at theme parks and amusement parks during a war?

3/18/03 - (Disney) World-class dining If you think eating at Walt Disney World means mediocre fast food, then you've been eating in all the wrong places. Chefs, food writers, and WDW experts Rick and Gayle Perlmutter pick a baker's dozen of the best Disney dining spots.

3/11/03 - What's the Attraction? 2003 will bring plenty of innovative attractions, thrill rides, and shows, like Universals' Jimmy Neutron and Shrek rides. Also, how can SpongeBob SquarePants be in three parks at once--when everyone knows he lives in a pineapple under the sea?

3/4/03 - Coast-to-coast coasters U.S. parks will be introducing a batch of roller coasters in a variety of styles, scare factors, and sizes this season. Join About Theme Parks as we salute the Coaster Class of 2003.

2/25/03 - Calling Clark Kent Wannabes Look! Up in the Air! It's...you on the new Superman flying coasters at Chicago's Six Flags Great America and New Jersey's Six Flags Great Adventure. Read all about them, the newly named Six Flags New Orleans, and other 2003 debuts at Six Flags parks.

2/18/03 - Gain Some SPACE, Lose Some Weight 2003 will bring its share of exciting attractions to Walt Disney World and Disneyland, including one out-of-this-world Epcot E-Ticket ride. Read all about Mission: Space and other new adventures coming to Disney theme parks this year.

2/11/03 - Indoor Plumbing It's February. And it's snowing. And it's 23 below with the wind chill factor. So why are visitors flocking to the Wisconsin Dells with their bathing suits, swimming goggles...and ice scrapers? They're taking the indoor water park plunge.

1/28/03 - White Knuckles Are the Worst of It Feeling anxious about boarding a roller coaster? Sure, they are designed to terrorize you, but recent media reports would have you believe there may be some actual injury threat. Some recent scientific studies help separate the hype from the reality.

1/20/03 - Something Fishy Going on Valentine's Day Looking for a unique way to celebrate Valentine's Day? Flip 'er (or him) out with an up-close-and-personal dolphin encounter. SeaWorld Orlando's Discovery Cove has a special package that's sure to give your relationship a whole new sense of porpoise.

1/12/03 - Coaster to Strata, er Shatter, Records Feeling kind of a drag with the winter blues? Cedar Point's news will get your spirits up--way up. When its Top Thrill Dragster "Strata-Coaster" debuts this spring, it'll be the world's tallest, fastest coaster. We're talking REALLY tall and fast.

1/4/03 - Theme-Park-A-Rama Sure you know about Disneyland and Cedar Point. But, how about York's Wild Kingdom in Maine? Or Oregon's Enchanted Forest? Find virtually all major and minor US parks, neatly arranged by state, with About Theme Parks' brand new search feature.

2002 - About Theme Parks 2002 Features

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