THEME PARK ROUNDUP
Steve Zall and Sid Fish
Incredible things are happening this summer at our local theme parks, such as:
Disneyland Resort Celebrates Summer with ‘Mickey’s Soundsational Parade,’
‘Star Tours’ in 3-D, and ‘The Little Mermaid’ Attractions
Disney excitement of all kinds – from under the sea, to down Main Street, U.S.A., and to a galaxy far, far away – makes for a Disney Soundsational Summer, now through Sept. 5. A thrilling lineup of magical attractions and entertainment experiences enhance all the fun and adventure that create memories for guests throughout the year at the Disneyland Resort.
Highlights of this Soundsational Summer include the latest milestone in the expansion of Disney California Adventure park, The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, plus the sensational new 3D excursions of Star Tours and the exciting new “Mickey’s Soundsational Parade” in Disneyland park:
- The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure – The adventures of Ariel unfold in colorful scenes filled with Audio-Animatronics characters and memorable music from the Disney animated motion picture hit “The Little Mermaid” ride in Disney California Adventure. The attraction brings the popular motion picture to life in magnificent scenes where guests sing along with Sebastian and friends, keep an eye out for the evil Ursula, and experience the romance of Ariel and Eric. Special effects transport guests “under the sea,” taking them into Ariel’s world in ways never before seen.
- Star Tours - The Adventures Continue – Guests will never know where the Force might take them as they embark on thrilling new Star Tours journeys, now enhanced with the breathtaking immersion of 3D. The new journeys feature more than 50 different story combinations, bridging that “long, long time ago” between the two “Star Wars” trilogies. At the bustling new Spaceport where droids run the show and excursions to the stars are advertised overhead, eager travelers board fully reimagined Starspeeders for interstellar treks to Coruscant, Hoth, Naboo and many more destinations in the “Star Wars” galaxy. In the course of their adventures, voyagers encounter characters from the “Star Wars” movies, some of them making their first appearances in the refreshed attraction.
- “Mickey’s Soundsational Parade” – Explosions of dynamic rhythm and bold percussion accompany beloved Disney characters as they stomp and strut along Main Street, U.S.A., in the new “Mickey’s Soundsational Parade.” The parade brings characters and melodies from Disney films to life with a syncopated drum line, flashing cymbals and more than 90 performers, as Mickey Mouse and his pals get the Disneyland crowd into the beat of this giant jam session. “Mickey’s Soundsational Parade” features nine parade floats, each designed in the style of a children’s “pop-up” storybook with eye-catching visuals and whimsical details.
Also at Disneyland:
- “Magical” Fireworks Spectacular – Tinker Bell and Dumbo take to the air over Sleeping Beauty Castle as the “Magical” fireworks spectacular returns for its third consecutive summer. Tink waves her wand to awaken a pyrotechnic spectacular inspired by Disney’s most magical characters, including Pinocchio, Mary Poppins, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, and the Three Good Fairies from “Sleeping Beauty.” Dumbo makes a “Magical” summer appearance, too, as the enchanting storytelling of a fireworks show creates memories for guests of the Disneyland Resort.
Also at Disney California Adventure:
- Goofy’s Sky School – Joining the fun along Paradise Pier, this coaster attraction is inspired by the classic Goofy “How-to” shorts of the 1940s and 1950s as well as the cartoon short “Goofy’s Glider.” The theme is a flying academy with your pal Goofy as the wacky instructor. Guests enjoy all the dips, twists and thrills as Goofy tries to teach a group of novice pilots how to soar through the sky.
- “Disney Junior – Live on Stage!” – “Jake and the Never Land Pirates” are now appearing at Disney California Adventure as part of "Disney Junior - Live on Stage!" – a theme park show that is a favorite of young guests. Co-starring in the production are characters from “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse,” “Handy Manny” and “Little Einsteins” - other shows that are part of the Disney Junior schedule on Disney Channel. Children and families are invited to dance and sing along as "Disney Junior--Live on Stage!" is presented several times daily.
- Paradise Pier - New restaurants, shops and attractions complete the transformation of Paradise Pier into a vintage beachside playland. New dining locations include Paradise Garden Grill and Boardwalk Pasta and Pizza. The popular Corn Dog Castle returns, along with Seaside Souvenirs (formerly Souvenir 66), a restyled merchandise location, are both adjacent to the new Goofy’s Sky School and Little Mermaid attractions.
- “World of Color” – The award-winning “World of Color” water spectacular continues for a second summer of nightly performances on Paradise Bay. The show combines nearly 1,200 versatile, performing fountains, popular Disney music and a kaleidoscope of audio and visual effects, including both classic and new animation projected on giant screens of water. “World of Color” floods the senses and takes the audience on an imaginative, emotional journey into the colorful worlds of Disney classics such as “The Lion King” and “The Little Mermaid” along with Disney•Pixar films including “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo.”
- “ElecTRONica” – The party on “The Grid,” inspired by the Disney movie, “TRON: Legacy,” will continue nightly throughout the summer. “ElecTRONica” features music, live performances and interactive experiences, and it has become the place to dance the night away. Inspired by the computer-world environment of “TRON: Legacy,” ElecTRONica comes to life in the Hollywood Pictures Backlot. DJs keep the energy going with electronic party music while dancers costumed as “Sirens” and “Programs” from the movie rock out at locations throughout the party.
At the Disneyland Hotel:
- Disneyland Hotel Enhancements - Phase One renovations at the Disneyland Hotel will be completed in time for summer 2011, including new décor in the rooms, a new pool-and-slide water play area, and three new themed suites - Fantasy, Big Thunder and Adventureland.- joining the existing Mickey Mouse and Pirates suites. Already completed are the brand new poolside Tangaroa Terrace restaurant and Trader Sam’s bar, inspired by classic features found in Adventureland in Disneyland. Phase Two renovations, scheduled to open in the fall will include enhancements to the existing pool, the main lobby, the porte- cochere and the façade of the hotel convention center.
Disneyland Resort features two fantastic theme parks – Disneyland (the original Disney theme park) and Disney California Adventure – plus the Downtown Disney District comprised of unique dining, entertainment and shopping experiences. The resort’s three hotels are the luxurious 948-room Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, the magical 970-room Disneyland Hotel and the 481-room Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel with its day-at-the-beach fun.
Disneyland Resort in Anaheim is open daily year round. For more information call 866-603-4763 or visitwww.disneyland.com.
Happiness Is Summer at Knott’s - New Attraction and Ice Show for
Knott’s Berry Farm will celebrate the summer season with new shows and a breathtaking new attraction.
- WindSeeker, slated to open in July, will make its debut high above Orange County this summer. Rising over 300 feet in the air, WindSeeker will take 64 passengers to new heights as it ascends above the theme park and then spins riders for a 60 second ride at a speed of 30 miles per hour.
- “Snoopy’s Starlight Spectacular” has returned for its second season and is bigger and brighter than ever. When darkness falls over Knott’s Berry Farm, Snoopy’s Starlight Spectacular brings Camp Snoopy to life with a continuous light show filled with Peanuts’ figures, themed music, sound effects, and colorful projections. Guests can see their favorite characters in scenes that personify them – Lucy’s dream of being a Hollywood starlet, Schroeder’s musical genius, even Woodstock gets into the act as he and Snoopy go on a camping adventure.
- “Happiness is….Snoopy” will make it’s debut on June 18 in the Charles M. Schulz Theatre (dark Wednesdays). In this exciting new musical ice show extravaganza, you will fall in love with Snoopy and the Peanuts Gang as they share the simple joys of life with the help of world-class ice skaters in a show that will delight the entire family. Catchy tunes, elaborate costumes, special effects and show-stopping choreography make this production a not-to-miss experience.
- “All Wheels Extreme” returns to the Calico Stage on June 18, back at Knott’s by popular demand. Guests will be amazed by the skills of gravity defying BMX bikers, in-line skaters, a trials rider, gymnasts and even a skateboarding canine in a fast paced, action packed production.
- “Hooray for Hollywood” for the younger set, tells the story of the Peanuts® Gang as they try to make it big in Tinseltown. Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, and their friend JT pay homage to the golden days of Hollywood in a show that’s sure to delight kids of all ages.
- “Country Dancin’ U.S.A.” on the Calico Square Stage at twilight (selected dates) becomes the place to learn the latest dances with Knott’s line dancing aficionados, J.T. and Dusty.
- “Fiesta Folklorico” really heats up the summer. Guests in Fiesta Village will be treated to beautifully costumed dancers as they present culturally-rich performances filled with intricate choreography.
One of the best reasons to visit Knott’s Berry Farm during the summer is that Knott’s is open late, and guests can get in after 4 p.m. for only $28.50 for Regular admission and $24.99 for Juniors (3-11) and Seniors (62 years and older). All-day tickets to Knott’s Berry Farm are $56.99 for Regular admission and $24.99 for Juniors and Seniors. Children under three are free. Discount tickets to Knott’s are available at Ralphs stores through September 6 and are valid through October 31 (excludes Knott’s Halloween Haunt).
Just across the street from Knott’s Berry Farm, Knott’s Soak City is ready for another fun-filled season. Cool off in Tidal Wave Bay or take a ride on Pacific Spin, Soak City’s newest ride. Pacific Spin riders are blasted down into a 132-foot long tunnel, then drop a stomach-churning 63 feet into the mouth of a six story funnel. This thrilling escapade culminates in a waterfall splash that deposits riders into a cool catch pool. Tickets to Knott’s Soak City Regular admission is $31.99, Juniors and Seniors are just $21.99. Discount tickets are available at www.knotts.com. Knott’s Soak City Orange County is open daily through September 5, then weekends only September 10 through 18.
Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park is open daily year round. For more information call 714-220-5200 or visitwww.knotts.com, where you can also save time and money with Knott’s Print@Home tickets.
LEGOLAND® California Resort Announces Five New Guest Experiences
At LEGOLAND California
- STAR WARS™ Miniland area Guests can enjoy seven of the most famous scenes from the six live-action STAR WARS movies, as well as a scene from the animated series STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS™ all made out of 1.5 million LEGO bricks and built in 1:20 scale. Guests are further immersed into the STAR WARS experience as they pose with life-size LEGO models of Chewbacca, R2D2 and Darth Vader. Following a chronological path through the STAR WARS timeline, LEGOLAND guests retrace the major events of the beloved Saga. Some of the 2,000 LEGO models are more than 6-feet-tall. Interactive buttons allow children to activate animations throughout the scenes.
- LEGO® Hero Factory Experience is now open in the Imagination Zone. Here, young guests are able to build and create their own heroes (or villains) and meet and greet their favorite Hero Factory characters. The largest LEGO mosaic ever built at LEGOLAND California, a 6-foot-tall, 26-foot-wide mosaic made of 298,368 LEGO bricks depicting an iconic scene from the Hero Factory saga, is also a part of the new Hero Factory experience.
- Fun Town Police and Fire Academy is a re-launch of one of the most popular rides in the Park – Fun Town Fire Academy. On this classic LEGOLAND ride, families pile into a fire truck and power it by pumping levers up and down as they race other families to put out the “fire”. The first family to make it back wins. Now the fire trucks are being joined by police vehicles and families race to put out fires and stop robbers.
At LEGOLAND Water Park
- Splash Zoo is a brand new area for toddlers, opens inside LEGOLAND Water Park. The DUPLO® Zoo themed area, located next to DUPLO Splash Safari and Kid Creek, features giant DUPLO Zoo animals including a lion, a giraffe, a zebra, a polar bear, and two penguins, all with interactive buttons on them that make the animals spray water in various patterns. The area also has a tunnel kids can crawl through, fountains that shoot water 25 feet in the air, and a teeter totter that splashes its riders, all geared specifically for guests ages 1 to 3.
At SEA LIFE™ Aquarium
- Octopus Garden an interactive exhibit introducing families to the amazing world of cephalopods. From octopus and cuttlefish to nautilus, these distinctive creatures have almost supernatural abilities including camouflage, ink clouds and jet propulsion, that will surprise and delight adults and children alike. Octopus Garden replaces the Sharks Revealed exhibit that opened in 2008.
LEGOLAND California Resort in Carlsbad is open 7 days a week, now through September 5. For more information call 760-918-5346 or visit www.legoland.com.
SeaWorld San Diego presents “Summer Nights”
SeaWorld stays open late so guests have more time to enjoy all their SeaWorld favorites, plus special nighttime entertainment! This year’s kickoff of Summer Nights marks the 12th anniversary of the park’s first-ever adventure ride, Shipwreck Rapids. Summer Nights also features “Shamu Rocks,” an energetic musical journey around the world; “Sea Lions Tonite,” a comedy show starring Clyde and Seamore; and SeaWorld’s “Into the Blue” fireworks show that lights up the sky to the orchestral soundtrack of the “Blue Horizons” show.
- “Turtle Reef” Opens Soon Guests can come celebrate with the sea turtles after the opening of Turtle Reef at SeaWorld on June 18. The attraction will be the largest exhibit in the world dedicated to sea turtles, will inform guests on how trash and pollution can affect the species and will highlight threatened and endangered sea turtles. Turtles in the attraction’s nearly 300,000-gallon aquarium will include adults, some more than 50 years old, as well as turtles that hatched at the marine-life park in October 2009. In addition to the turtles, Turtle Reef will feature thousands of tropical fish and a large underwater viewing window. Interactive elements such as a gaming wall and touch screen map will immerse guests and educate them on how SeaWorld cares for sea turtles. A new ride, Riptide Rescue, is perfect for “tweens,” who can spin in boats on their own rescue mission.
- “One Ocean” Killer Whale Show SeaWorld San Diego presents an all-new killer whale show, connecting guests to the sea with a new level of energy, excitement and vibrancy, as it educates and inspires them to make a difference in this world. “One Ocean” features SeaWorld’s majestic killer whales as ambassadors of the sea, and the ocean as the center of our natural world. The show connects guests with these remarkable animals and immerses the audience in the vivid colors and sensations of the underwater world. At the core of the show is the unifying message that both animals and humans are part of one world, with one ocean, and its future is in our hands to cherish and protect. Shamu Stadium — with its three-story set, panoramic LED screens and hundreds of surround-sound speakers — features special effects that envelop guests in the show experience, including brilliantly colored lights; soaring fountains; stunning underwater imagery; and an original, contemporary musical score with global rhythms.
- Club Atlantis This summer teens can dance the night away at Club Atlantis, Presented by Pepsi, located adjacent to SeaWorld’s Journey To Atlantis water coaster! Guests can join CW6 and Channel 933 Thursday and Friday nights June 23 through Aug. 12. The area will feature music from Channel 933’s DJ Marc Thrasher and will include lights and videos — giving teens a fun and safe atmosphere to spend their summer with friends. There will also be performances by local dance team, Culture Shock, and it is all included with park admission.
- Summer Camp Season Campers from all around the globe are about to have the time of their lives as the 2011 summer camp season at SeaWorld gets under way. At SeaWorld Camps, there’s something for all ages: during weeklong Resident Camp sessions, 4th through 12th graders spend a full week at the marine-life park. Activities may include preparing fish for animals, feeding dolphins, kayaking on Mission Bay and more. During weeklong Day Camp sessions, preschoolers through 12th graders meet animals, snorkel and take part in hands-on learning activities. For more information call 800-25-SHAMU or visit www.swbg-adventurecamps.com.
Now, with so much to see and do at SeaWorld this summer there’s never been a better time to visit. And, the park is offering a Twilight Ticket giving guests a single-day park admission for $39.99 when arriving after 3 p.m. during Club Atlantis nights.
SeaWorld San Diego in San Diego is open daily year round, and Summer Nights runs nightly June 18 through August 28 and September 3–5. For more information call 800-257-4268 or visit www.seaworldsandiego.com.
Six Flags Magic Mountain Unveils Three New Coaster Experiences for
Six Flags Magic Mountain launches their next generation of thrills with three new coasters this year, making the park the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World” with an amazing 18 roller coasters. Already in operation, “SUPERMAN: Escape from Krypton” launches riders to 100 mph in seven seconds facing backwards, and “Road Runner Express” gives the whole family a chance at some milder thrills. Set to open on July 1 is the long-awaited thrill coaster “Green Lantern” named after the new movie opening the same day.
- SUPERMAN: Escape from Krypton Riders begin their journey in 14-passenger vehicles aerodynamically designed for intense speed. State-of-the-art electro-magnetic motors blast the five-ton vehicles out of Krypton backwards, accelerating from 0 to 100 mph in seven seconds. Riders will experience several seconds of weightlessness at the peak of the 41-story-tall tower and then slowly begin the descent back to Krypton. As the sleek vehicles freefall straight down the skyscraper, they will once again enter the 100 mph speed zone before safely returning to earth.
- Green Lantern opening July 1, and featuring a never-been-done-before completely VERTICAL zigzag pattern track, this new spinning coaster will take coaster riding to another galaxy. Fearless riders will brave the ride sitting in eight-person vehicles — four abreast and back-to-back, each rotating independently. The two-minute thrill begins with riders going up the 107-foot lift hill before spinning their way down through 828-feet of twisted vertical track, featuring three, 360-degree head-over-hill spins.
- Road Runner Express For those who like milder thrills, the all-new Road Runner Express is designed for the entire family. The steel coaster is 679 feet long with a 28-foot lift hill, reaching speeds up to 21 miles-per-hour. A single train features eight cars where you’ll sit two across in a single row for a total of 16 riders for the just under one minute ride duration.
Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia is open daily through September 4. For more information call 661-255-4100 or visitwww.sixflagsmagicmountain.com.
Universal Studios Hollywood Casts Comedian Jimmy Fallon as New
Video Host of World-Famous Studio Tour
The Studio Tour at Universal Studios HollywoodSM, which has taken over 150 million visitors behind the scenes of the movie and television industry’s biggest hits, will introduce a new video “host” this spring as comedian Jimmy Fallon, star of NBC’s “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” becomes the ride’s “virtual Studio Tour Guide.” Jimmy will be introducing a series of videos that will be seen on the Hi Definition monitors located in each Tram car to augment the “live” narration provided by Universal Studios Hollywood’s tour guides.
The addition of Jimmy Fallon’s presence comes on the heels of sweeping enhancements to the Studio Tour, including the addition of “King Kong 360 3-D,” created by Peter Jackson, the world’s largest, most intense 3-D experience. Additionally, over four acres of the newly rebuilt New York Street backlot locations recently re-opened, an area that features 13 city blocks of buildings and working shooting locations that offer Studio Tour guests a front row look at Hollywood moviemaking. The Universal Studios backlot, a celebrated Hollywood landmark, has been the setting of countless commercials, television shows and feature films.
Studio Tour guests will also recognize some of the studio’s other famous production locations including the “War of the Worlds” airplane crash set; ABC’s hit series “Desperate Housewives” Wisteria Lane; the Psycho House-Bates Motel and the popular Western, European and Mexican Streets.
Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City is open daily year round. For more information call 800-864-8377 or visitwww.universalstudioshollywood.com.
Wow! With all of this fantastic new stuff happening at our SoCal theme parks, it's going to be hard to stay focused on time at the beach, so why fight the urge? Give in and get on down to one or more of these incredible parks today, and take your family and friends along with you.