THEME PARK ROUNDUP
Steve Zall and Sid Fish
Just look at all the fun new things to do and see this summer in our local theme parks, including:
Disney California Adventure Park Reopens with New Fun and Attractions,
as the Happiest Place on Earth Gets Even Happier with Cars Land,
Buena Vista Street, Carthay Circle Theatre
Disney California Adventure offers guests a full day-to-night experience with four new attractions – Radiator Springs Racers, Luigi’s Flying Tires and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree in Cars Land and the Red Car Trolley, which traverses the length of Buena Vista Street – along with nine new shops, eight new food locations including Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge, and more than a dozen new entertainment experiences such as the “Red Car News Boys,” and “Mad Tea Party.”
Cars Land and Buena Vista Street celebrate a five-year expansion that has brought more Disney and more experiences to guests of the Disneyland Resort, a world-class, family vacation destination with two theme parks, three hotels and the Downtown Disney shopping and dining district.
The 12-acre Cars Land is a fully detailed, three-dimensional re-creation of Radiator Springs, known to fans of the Disney●Pixar movie “Cars” as “the cutest little town in Carburetor County”. Radiator Springs Racers is one of the largest and most elaborate attractions created for a Disney theme park, taking guests on a tour of the scenic Cadillac Mountain Range before their big race begins. Guests are immersed in the story of the movie as they encounter all the familiar landmarks of Radiator Springs, including its shops, restaurants and neon signs.
Guests now enter Disney California Adventure through another lively and richly detailed land, Buena Vista Street. The newly themed and designed entrance brings the spirit of Walt Disney into the park as never before, immersing guests in a locale reminiscent of Los Angeles in the 1920s, a time and place full of hope and optimism. With its familiar shop names, period costumes and architecture, Buena Vista Street is inspired by the “city of dreams” Walt Disney found when he arrived by train in California.
The icon of Disney California Adventure, the Carthay Circle Theatre, is a majestic building at the end of Buena Vista Street that recalls, in name and architectural style, the great California movie palace where “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” premiered in 1937. Carthay Circle Theatre, home to the Carthay Circle Restaurant and Lounge, anchors the newly designed plaza from which guests set out to experience all the thrills, excitement and wonder of Disney California Adventure. Upstairs, guests enjoy Southern California cuisine and the ambience of a post-gala party at Carthay Circle Restaurant, while the ground floor Carthay Circle Lounge offers appetizers and bar service, along with historic photographs and exhibits.
The Red Car Trolley, based on Los Angeles’ historic Pacific Electric Red Car Line, transports guests from Buena Vista Street down Hollywood Boulevard, to the footsteps of the famed Hollywood Tower Hotel, home to The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror. Street characters and entertainers such as “Five & Dime” add to the lively fun along Buena Vista Street, engaging guests as they step back in time.
The expansion of Disney California Adventure has produced a succession of new entertainment and attractions:
· Toy Story Mania! opened in 2008, inviting guests into an interactive, ride-through, attraction where they enter a 4-D carnival midway hosted by characters from the Disney●Pixar movie “Toy Story”.
· “World of Color”, the nighttime water spectacular, debuted in 2010 and the popular show has been seen by more than 5 million guests.
· In 2011, the park reached its next milestone with the premiere of The Little Mermaid ~ Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, a ride-through attraction based on the Disney animated classic movie.
· Additional highlights include new entertainment such as “Phineas & Ferb’s Rockin’ Rollin’ Dance Party”, new restaurants such as Paradise Garden Grill, and the enhancement and re-theming of such attractions as Mickey’s Fun Wheel, Games of the Boardwalk, Silly Symphony Swings and Goofy’s Sky School.
The transformation of Disneyland Resort, a world-class, family vacation destination, began in 2001 with the opening of Disney California Adventure, the Downtown Disney district and Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa. Since then, the Disneyland Resort has continued to grow with the addition of popular attractions and shows such as Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, now in 3-D; Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage; Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters and The Twilight Zone™ Tower of Terror. In 2009, the resort completed a major expansion of Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which included the first West Coast destination for Disney Vacation Club. A magical renovation of the signature Disneyland Hotel was completed in early 2012, including re-imagined guest rooms, a new restaurant and bar, and a new pool with monorail-themed water slides.
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 with expanded hours for summer. For more information call 866-603-4763 or visit www.disneyland.com.
Knott’s Offers Farm Fresh Fun and Fare This Summer Season
Knott’s Berry Farm will celebrate the summer season with new food and entertainment around every corner including a spectacular ice show, an evening light show, the return of the action packed “All Wheels Extreme” and a host of new atmosphere entertainment that will fill Knott’s Berry Farm with a summer vibe that can’t be beat.
For guests who have not had a chance to catch their panoramic view of Orange County, WindSeeker in Fiesta Village should be their first stop this summer. Rising over 300 feet in the air, WindSeeker takes 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” returns for its third 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. In “Snoopy’s Starlight Spectacular”, guests will 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. “Snoopy’s Starlight Spectacular” will run every evening the park is open after 8:00 p.m.
Over at the Charles M. Schulz Theatre, Knott’s Berry Farm is proud to present “Happiness is….Snoopy” (dark Wednesdays) an exciting ice show debuting June 16. In this musical 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.
Back by popular demand, Knott’s “All Wheels Extreme” (dark Monday and Tuesdays) returns to the Calico Stage on June 16. Guests will be amazed by the skills of gravity defying BMX bikers, in-line skaters, gymnasts and even free runners in this fast paced, action packed production.
This summer Knott’s Berry Farm will come alive with new characters that have taken up residence in Knott’s Ghost Town. With Sherriff Jebedeiah Smith, Beau Regard the Saloon owner, the delightful Sweet Adeline and others, life in the 1890’s has never been as colorful or as exciting. This crew will have you seeing life in the Old West in a whole new way.
For the younger set, “Hooray for Hollywood” 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.
Knott’s abundance of entertainment this summer offers something new everywhere you turn including a Peruvian wind and percussion ensemble in Fiesta Plaza, a juggling unicyclist on the Boardwalk Midway, and the Ghost Town Miners interactive country, blue grass quartet at Spurs Restaurant.
A trip to Knott’s this summer would not be complete without sampling some of Knott’s new fantastic new food items offered throughout the park including the BBQ Flank Steak sandwich, Slow Cooked BBQ Ribs, or Knott’s very own Big Foot Broiler Kebab sandwich!
Just across the street from Knott’s Berry Farm, Knott’s Soak City is ready for another fun-filled season starting Memorial Day weekend. 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.
Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park is open daily year round. For more information call 714-220-5200 or visit www.knotts.com, where you can also save time and money with Knott’s Print@Home tickets.
LEGOLAND® California Resort Announces
the Opening of Pirate Reef
This summer, play your part at Pirate Reef. Join a buccaneer-filled boat as it races down a flume between the battling ships, then choose the blue ship or the red ship and fire water cannons across the ships’ bows. The multi-million dollar new ride at the family theme park in Carlsbad invites guests to plunge 25 feet down a chute between two massive pirate ships making a giant splash beneath a bridge below. The fun doesn’t stop there: Upon exiting, guests aim water cannons at each other from the ship of either Captain Blue Brick or Captain Red Brick and take a chance on getting drenched again as they walk the bridge between the two ships.
Pirate Reef is the first attraction to be accessible not only through Pirate Shores within LEGOLAND California, but also via LEGOLAND Water Park. Throughout Pirate Reef, more than 30 pirate themed LEGO® models, created out of more than 223,000 LEGO bricks, are featured including both Captain Red Brick and Captain Blue Brick, pirates, monkeys, parrots and more.
LEGOLAND® California Resort includes LEGOLAND® California, SEA LIFE™ Carlsbad Aquarium and LEGOLAND Water Park, all geared for families with children between the ages of 2 and 12. LEGOLAND California features more than 60 rides, shows and attractions including LEGO® Star Wars™ Miniland and the all-new Pirate Reef opening summer 2012. SEA LIFE incorporates LEGO® models into a child’s voyage to the depths of the ocean and features play zones, fun facts and quiz trails and the all-new Claws exhibit. LEGOLAND Water Park opened in 2010 as the world’s first LEGO themed Water Park and features seven slides, interactive water play features and the exclusive Build-A-Raft River. For more information, log on to www.LEGOLAND.com or call (760) 918-LEGO.
LEGOLAND California Resort in Carlsbad is open 7 days a week, now through September 3. 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 13th 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.
Manta Grand Opening: Manta, a new mega-attraction that seamlessly transitions guests from the awe of watching rays in underwater flight … into the sensation of actually being one, is officially open at SeaWorld San Diego. Swooping over sea and sky, Manta not only inspires riders with an amazing 100,000-gallon aquarium, but also takes them on an exhilarating ride on a coaster shaped like a giant manta ray, with dozens of twists and turns and a thrilling 54-foot drop. Manta sits on five acres just north of SeaWorld’s Dolphin Point. Guests are first introduced to the attraction as 20-car trains zip around a striking 30-foot rock formation with a very prominent Manta sign. Guests feel as if they’ve landed on an exotic Southeast Asian island, sprinkled with flowers and featuring a variety of palm trees, Japanese black pines, a palm and cycad canyon and a succulent garden. Large trees line the perimeter of Manta, while small shrines, Japanese rockwork, potted bonsai trees and a stone pagoda and bell tower (two structures dating back to 1964 when the park opened!) blend into the landscape.
Club Atlantis: This summer teens can dance the night away at Club Atlantis, Presented by Coca-Cola, located adjacent to SeaWorld’s Journey To Atlantis water coaster! Guests can Channel 933 Thursdays through Sundays, June 15 to 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 be dance team performances, nightly Coca-Cola dance-offs, giveaways and plenty of time to just dance, and it is all included with park admission. For more information visit SeaWorld’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/seaworldsandiego.
Campers from Around the World Come to SeaWorld: More than 500 campers from all around the globe are about to have the time of their lives as the 2012 summer camp season at SeaWorld gets under way. At SeaWorld Camps, there’s something for all ages: during weeklong Resident Camp sessions, 5th 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 (press 4) or visit http://www.swbg-adventurecamps.com.
SeaWorld San Diego in San Diego is open daily year round, and Summer Nights runs through September 3. For more information call 800-257-4268 or visit www.seaworldsandiego.com.
Six Flags Magic Mountain Unveils New Attraction –
Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom
Another one for the history books, Six Flags Magic Mountain, in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Entertainment, announced today the world’s tallest vertical drop ride, LEX LUTHOR: Drop of Doom. Named after one of DC Comics’ most dangerously intelligent super-villains and Superman’s greatest enemy, LEX LUTHOR: Drop of Doom is an engineering phenomenon, attached to both sides of the iconic SUPERMAN: Escape from Krypton tower. Soaring at a sky-scraping 400 feet, LEX LUTHOR: Drop of Doom takes fearless riders seated inside floorless gondolas on two vertical tracks flanking each side of the SUPERMAN: Escape from Krypton tower. Passengers on the gondolas are pulled to the top of the tower, experience a brief pause before being released and dropped at speeds of up to 85 miles-per-hour. After five seconds of freefall, the gondola is stopped by a sophisticated magnetic braking system just a few feet from the ground.
Changing Magic Mountain’s legendary skyline, LEX LUTHOR: Drop of Doom offers riders breathtaking panoramic views as they are lifted to the top of the tallest vertical drop ride ever built. Sitting eight abreast, riders plummet 40 stories at an extreme speed before coming to a stop, all while the SUPERMAN: Escape from Krypton cars are blasted to the top of the same structure.
Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia is open daily through September 3. For more information call 661-255-4100 or visit www.sixflagsmagicmountain.com.
Universal Studios Hollywood Opens
Transformers: The Ride-3D
Transformers: The Ride-3D is an immersive, next generation thrill ride blurring the line between fiction and reality. Fusing HD 3D media and flight simulation technology, this epic ride creates an experience unlike anything this planet has ever seen. Based on the popular movie franchise, this mind-blowing new Transformers adventure puts you in the middle of the ultimate war zone. Fight alongside Optimus and try to survive as you protect the AllSpark from Decepticons over four stories tall. Remember, the future of the human race is counting on you.
Universal Studios Hollywood'sSM epic thrill ride, “Transformers™: The Ride—3D” sets the bar for unparalled, immersive theme park rides. Envisioned to completely and uniquely revolutionize the next-generation of themed rides, “Transformers: The Ride—3D” is a monumental tour de force helmed by a roster of Hollywood heavyweights, including award-winning filmmaker and creative consultant Michael Bay, the Oscar®-winning, visionary special effects masterminds and technical luminaries at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), TRANSFORMERS brand stewards at Hasbro, Inc. and the award-winning, progressive and inspired minds at Universal Creative.
Based on the electrifying TRANSFORMERS blockbuster movie franchise and celebrated for its multi-generational appeal, inventive storyline, spectacular action sequences and ingenious special effects, this exciting ride breaks new ground in the world of theme park attractions, stretching the medium’s potential as a powerfully engaging storytelling vehicle.
Infused with an adrenalized multi-level ride-track, visceral special effects, one of the most elaborate flight simulation ride systems ever created and the highest, most sophisticated resolution of 3D-HD technology available, “Transformers: The Ride—3D” propels guests into the dynamic, action-packed robotic world of TRANSFORMERS.
Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City is open daily year round. For more information call 800-864-8377 or visit www.universalstudioshollywood.com.
Aren’t you excited by all this? Why not take your family and friends out today so you can check it out yourself! You’ll be glad you did.