ABOVE PHOTO: Battle for Eire Action VR Ride at Virginia’s Busch Gardens Williamsburg
By Beth J. Harpaz
NEW YORK –Orlando, Florida, doesn’t have a lock on theme park news this summer.
Sure, Toy Story Land at Disney World and a new “Fast & Furious’’ attraction at Universal Orlando will be getting attention. But there are lots of other exciting openings around the country.
Fans of Wonder Woman can ride the first coaster named for her, Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster, at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio. The coaster has a unique design, built on a slender twisting monorail with riders lined up in single seats for their 90-degree drop and an upside-down thrill.
Disney California Adventure Park in Anaheim, California, plans a June 23 opening for Pixar Pier. The site, replacing the previous Paradise Pier, will consist of four Pixar-themed neighborhoods with attractions, food and merchandise inspired by Pixar stories and characters. One neighborhood, themed on Pixar’s “The Incredibles’’ movie, includes a revamped Incredicoaster ride with new scenes and special effects keyed to the “Incredibles 2’’ film opening June 15. Another neighborhood will be themed on “Toy Story.’’
Six Flags Over Georgia near Atlanta debuts Twisted Cyclone, a hybrid roller coaster with a traditional wood coaster structure on a steel track. The coaster’s red and black train is modeled after a classic 1960s sports car.
The Time Traveler ride opened in March to great fanfare at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. Billed as the industry’s fastest, steepest and tallest spinning roller coaster, Time Traveler drops riders at a 90-degree vertical angle followed by three inversions at speeds up to around 50 mph, all while spinning.
And at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, a new hybrid roller coaster called Steel Vengeance is debuting, 200 feet tall with a 90-degree initial drop and half-barrel roll.
Here are some other openings around the country this season:
This is the final season for the “Jurassic Park’’-themed ride at Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles. That ride closes Sept. 3 to make way for construction of a new Jurassic World Ride opening next year.
Also at Universal Hollywood this summer, a nighttime lights show returns on select dates to Hogwarts Castle at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter beginning June 24. And Universal’s DreamWorks Theatre opens a new multi-sensory attraction called Kung-Fu Panda: The Emperor’s Quest. The high-tech adventure features LED lighting, surround sound and projection mapping, a type of augmented reality that can turn 3-D objects into interactive displays.
An upside-down view of Mission Bay awaits riders of the new Electric Eel coaster at SeaWorld San Diego. The triple-launch coaster will thrust riders forward and backward, accelerate to more than 60 mph in seconds and go nearly 150 feet (46 meters) up.
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California, debuts Skywarp, billed as the world’s first dueling looping coaster with two cars speeding around each other on double loops.
Elsewhere around California visitors will find the new RailBlazer coaster at Great America in Santa Clara; a new steel coaster, Hang Time, at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park; the new Legoland Castle Hotel and Lego City Deep Sea Adventure submarine ride at Legoland California Resort in Carlsbad; and CraZanity, a towering pendulum attraction at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia.
Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois, debuts the world’s largest loop coaster, called the Mardi Gras Hangover. The 100-foot (32-meter) ride puts riders on 32 face-to-face seats and takes them through several 360-degree revolutions.
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana, is adding two kids’ rides named for the Swahili word for elephant: the Tembo Falls water slide complex and Tembo Tides, a junior wave pool.
Six Flags St. Louis in Missouri opens Typhoon Twister at Hurricane Harbor water park, a hybrid zero-gravity water slide and wave wall.
In Minnesota, Valleyfair park in Shakopee opened Delirious, a looping thrill ride that coils riders upside-down on a seven-story, 360-degree freestanding structure with a high-speed train. In Bloomington, at Mall of America’s 7-acre Nickelodeon Universe theme park, a new attraction is opening themed on Nickelodeon’s animated preschool series PAW Patrol. Kids will recreate PAW Patrol missions in an open-play experience.
Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville is adding Scream Xtreme and a new family ride Rock ‘n Roller.
Battle for Eire Action VR Ride at Virginia’s Busch Gardens Williamsburg takes guests on an adventure with a fairy warrior named Addie through her Irish homeland in the park’s Ireland village. The attraction uses a motion-based theater simulator with state-of-the-art, 360-degree virtual reality headsets.
North Carolina Carowinds near Charlotte debuts Camp Snoopy, a newly expanded kids’ section and a climb-and-play area, Beagle Scout Acres.
Pigeon Forge Snow in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is a new year-round, indoor snow-tubing park, with 12 lanes, an oversized family tubing lane and a lift to deliver riders to the top of the hill.
NORTHEAST AND MID-ATLANTIC
Six Flags New England in Agawam, Massachusetts, debuts Harley Quinn Spinsanity, a colossal swing ride.
Six Flags Great Adventure & Safari in Jackson, New Jersey, opens Cyborg Cyber Spin, an anti-gravity gondola ride.
And visitors at Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, can take Oscar’s Wacky Taxi ride, a wood-and-steel hybrid family coaster with a bright yellow taxi-inspired train featuring Oscar the Grouch.