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What's New at California Theme Parks for 2013

Roller Coasters and More on the Way

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What's New at California Theme Parks for 2013

Gold Striker, a coaster coming to California's Great America, is among the new rides and attractions that will be opening in 2013 at theme parks in California.

Cedar Fair. Used with permission.
It was an incredibly exciting year for California theme parks in 2012 as Disney California Adventure completed its $1.1-billion transformation and opened Cars Land and Buena Vista Street to great acclaim (and record crowds), while Universal Studios Hollywood opened the wildly sophisticated E-ticket attraction, Transformers: The Ride-3D. Those are tough acts to follow, and, in fact, new developments at California theme parks in 2013 will be comparatively modest. There will, however, be some exciting new roller coasters opening, a water park will get a major makeover, and other goodies will await park fans.

If you are planning a trip to the Golden State, here are some resources you may find helpful:

California Ride Guide 2013

The guide is arranged alphabetically by park.

California's Great America
Santa Clara (near San Francisco)
New wooden roller coaster
Read about the woodie coming to the park, Gold Striker.

Disneyland Resort
Anaheim
New Fantasyland Theatre show, Fantasy Faire, and Limited Time Magic
At the time this was written, Disney hadn't released details about the new live show it will be debuting in the summer of 2013 at its Fantasyland Theatre in Disneyland. In the spring, the park will be opening Fantasy Faire near Sleeping Beauty Castle. It will be the new home of the Disney princesses, and the place for little princesses to meet and greet the heroines. As its name implies, Limited Time Magic will be a series of special events held at the parks throughout the year including the (brief) return of the Golden Horseshoe Revue and Pirate Week.

Knott's Berry Farm
Buena Park (Next to Anaheim)
Three new rides, including a Wild Mouse-style coaster
Coast Rider will be the name of the 52-foot-tall coaster. Also opening will be a Scrambler and Flying Scooters, both traditional spinning rides.

Legoland California
Carlsbad (near San Diego), CA
New hotel
The property continues its transformation into a destination resort with the debut of the Legoland Hotel. Scheduled to open in the summer, it will feature 250 rooms, some of which will be themed to (Lego-ish) pirates.

New 4D Film and More Star Wars
LEGO Legends of Chima will open in the park's 4D theater, and the popular Miniland Star Wars exhibit will expand.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Santa Cruz, CA
Undertow
A new spinning coaster is on its way to the seaside park.

SeaWorld San Diego
San Diego, CA
New water park
SeaWorld itself isn't expected to introduce anything new for the season (although it did open the wonderful coaster, Manta in 2012), but the company that runs the parks will be transforming a nearby water park into Aquatica California. Building on the successful Aquatica model it has introduced in Orlando and San Antonio, the San Diego-area park will combine lush landscaping and themeing, great water park attractions, and live animal exhibits.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Vallejo (near San Francisco), CA
Cirque Dreams Splashtastic
A new show will combine dolphin choreography with circus acts.

Six Flags Magic Mountain
Valencia, CA
Full Throttle
The wild new coaster will incorporate the world's tallest loop and three -- count 'em three -- magnetic launches.

Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal City, CA
New attraction?
While the park hasn't confirmed anything (at the time that I wrote this), there are strong rumors that it will soon be closing Terminator 2: 3-D. The conventional wisdom is that the wonderful Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride, which has been delighting audiences at Universal Studios Florida, may be replacing Terminator, possibly in 2013.

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