This Summer’s Top 10 Theme Park Attractions
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Every major theme park in the U.S. is adding at least one major new attraction this summer, or so it seems. It’s an impressive roster of innovative new rides and thrills. Even as a person who doesn’t love amusement parks, I’m keen to check out quite a few of these, especially at Disney And Universal Studios Hollywood.
Of course, I’m not the only one excited about new Frozen and Harry Potter activities. Expect extra large crowds around most of these (and if you don’t like crowds consider waiting until after the summer to check them out). If you manage to get near these hot attractions, let us know what you think of them!
1. Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim has added Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters to the Cars-themed area. Trackless cars dance across their platform to tunes inspired by old Italy. Frozen fans can enjoy a new live musical that’s likely to be an elaborate, slightly abbreviated version of the film.
2. Epcot Center in Orlando, FL gets the Ann-and-Elsa treatment, too, with a the Frozen Ever After boat ride at the Norway Pavilion. The ride, which takes visitors through the sites of Arandelle, will feature new songs animatronic versions of Anna, Elsa, and Olaf.
I don’t love the idea of Disney cartoon characters creeping into Epcot; I think that’s what you have the Magic Kingdom for and Epcot is meant to be a different kind of experience. I assume this ride replaces the Viking-themed boat ride, which scared the heck out of 5YO Tiny Traveler. Nevertheless, I’m sorry to see something more authentically Norwegian disappear from that Pavillion.
3. Both Epcot and California Adventure are opening the 4-D Soarin’ Around the World (top), which takes visitors on a ride across some of the world’s most distinctive landscapes. Soarin’ Over California is easily one of the coolest rides I’ve ever been on; I’m sure this will be equally well done.
Universal Studios Parks
4. The new attraction I keep hearing about most is the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter opening at Universal Studios Hollywood in California. It will offer a Flight of the Hippogriff kids roller coaster as well as a new 3-D version of Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, a top attraction at the Orlando park.
Once again you’ll have Hogwarts castle and a shopping area that resembles Hogsmead with a Three Broomsticks restaurant, the Hog’s Head pub, and Honeydukes sweet shop, plus Ollivander’s wand shop and Zonko’s Joke Shop. As the mom of a kid who recently inhaled the Harry Potter books, I’m confident that if you can get anywhere near it, your own Potter fans will love it.
5. At its Orlando theme park, Universal is opening King-Kong themed Skull Island: Reign of Kong, an immersive multisensory “dark ride” featuring animatronic figures and 3-D effects. They’ve also reworked the Incredible Hulk coaster with a new track and and story line and immersive elements.
6. Legoland California in Carlsbad opens Ninjago World, a ninja-themed area school-age boys will adore. The highlight is Ninjago: The Ride, which has sensors on the front of each car that read hand movements, allowing riders to shoot a rainbow of fireballs at Lego figures on digital screens.
7. SeaWorld Orlando in Florida serves up Mako, a shark-themed roller coaster that can reach speeds up to 73 mph is the centerpiece of a new shark-themed realm. After you ride the super-fast coaster, you can have a bite to eat Sharks Underwater Grill restaurant. For tamer fun, observe a range sharks from underwater viewing tunnels in Shark Encounter.
Busch Gardens Parks
8. Busch Gardens Tampa in Florida adds a spinning coaster called Cobra’s Curse to its Egypt section. Riders come face-to-face with an 80-foot snake before being sent spiraling through the park’s Serengeti Plain.
For Little Kids
Six Flags Parks
9. Six Flags Over Georgia, near Atlanta, has added the DC Super Friends area for for super hero fans not quite big enough for the serious roller coasters. It feature a Superman Tower of Power and The Joker Funhouse kids coaster. For even younger kids the theme park has revamped Bugs Bunny Boomtown with the Bugs Bunny High Sea Adventure flying ride, Yosemite Sam’s Wacky Wagons Ferris wheel, and, for kids that are scared of everything else, the Looney Tunes Adventure Camp
Worlds of Fun
10. Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Missouri, adds five new rides to its Planet Snoopy kida area. They include the flying Snoopy Space Buggies, Snoopy Junction, a railroad with your favorit dog as conductor, and, and the Linus Launcher, another flying ride.