1. Travel

California Ride Guide

What's New for the 2008 Season at California Theme Parks and Amusement Parks

By

California Ride Guide

The Simpsons ride into Universal Studios Hollywood.

Universal Studios Hollywood 2007. Used with permission.
There'll be plenty of attractions debuting at California parks in 2008. Let's take a park-by-park look at all of the new fun. This page features California parks with the exception of the Disneyland Resort. The preceding page has details about what's happening at the Disneyland Resort. The Guide is in alphabetical order by the name of the park.

California's Great America
Santa Clara (near San Francisco), CA
Firefall, a "Top Spin" thrill ride.

Granite Park- Note that this is a new park opening in 2008.
Fresno, CA
A new mini amusement park is slated to open in May 2008 and will include a small roller coaster, a Screamin' Swing pendulum ride, and a double decker carousel.

Knott's Berry Farm
Buena Park, CA
Pony Express launched coaster

Another coaster is coming to the coaster-crazy Farm. This one will forego a traditional lift hill and launch riders from 0 to a family-friendly 38 MPH in less than 3 seconds. It will then send them careening though some intense banked turns, camelback hills, and other wild features. The most unique aspect of Pony Express, however, will be its vehicles; instead of loading into typical coaster cars, passengers will mount one of the thrill machine's 16 horses. Think of it as a carousel gone bonkers.

Legoland California
Carlsbad (near San Diego), CA
Land of Adventure new themed area, featuring the dark ride, Lost Kingdom Adventure and Journey to the Lost Temple musical stage show
Sea Life aquarium

For the 2008 season, Legoland California will introduce a new themed area called Land of Adventure. The featured attraction will be the park's first dark ride, Lost Kingdom Adventure. In the interactive attraction, guests will use laser guns to hit targets and trigger animated scenes. There will also be three kiddie rides: a Beetle Bounce mini drop tower, a Cargo Ace plane ride, and Pharaoh's Revenge, a foam ball pit. A new 25-minute stage musical debuts as well.

Leogland is also building a separate-ticket Sea Life aquarium that will open in 2008. It will include an ocean tank, a freshwater stream, animal habitats, a theater, and other exhibits.

SeaWorld San Diego
San Diego, CA
Sesame Street Land and Sesame Street 4D

The park's kiddie rides area will be re-themed using Sesame Street characters and the 4-D theater will present a new Sesame Street show.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Vallejo (near San Francisco), CA
Tony Hawk's Big Spin coaster

Discovery Kingdom will be getting a family-friendly spinning coaster themed to the famous skateboarder.

Six Flags Magic Mountain
Valencia (near Los Angeles), CA
X2 coaster makeover and Thomas the Tank Engine land

X is one of the most unusual--and thrilling--coasters in the world. Unfortunately, it's also been one of the slowest-loading and most trouble-prone coasters as well. Since it opened in late 2001, it has often been closed for repairs or operating at significantly less than peak capacity. Even when two of its trains have been running, lines have often swelled to an x-cruciating four hours and longer. With Six Flags' announcement that it will be pouring $10 million into the ride--an unusually high figure for a makeover--coaster fans have to hope that the investment will make X more reliable and cut down on wait times. According to the park chain, X will get redesigned trains as well as a new tunnel that will deliver visual, aural, and sensory effects. When it reopens in spring 2008, it will be rechristened X2. X was the first coaster to incorporate the "4th dimension." Like a hybrid Ferris wheel/roller coaster, the ride's seats, which are located along the sides of the tracks, can pivot 360 degrees forwards and backwards. Along with the new X2 name, Six Flags says the recast coaster will ply the "5th dimension."

For younger park-goers, Six Flags Magic Mountain will also introduce a new area themed to the popular children's TV and book series, Thomas the Tank Engine. There will be new rides and characters to meet.

Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal City, CA
The Simpsons

Homer, Bart, Marge, and the rest of The Simpsons gang are coming to Universal Studios Hollywood. Slated to open in Spring 2008, the denizens of Springfield will bring their enduringly popular, unique, and often hilarious worldview to a new attraction in the building that hosted the now-defunct Back to the Future ride film. Guests will ride along with The Simpsons as they explore Krusty Land, a toon theme park developed by the TV show's Krusty the Clown.

The preceding page has details about what's happening at the Disneyland Resort.

Find more California theme parks.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.