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This year’s roller coaster season is quickly wrapping up, but that doesn’t mean that coaster enthusiasts will have a depressing off-season. Parks are already thinking about 2012 and how to improve on their steel track offerings, so it won’t be long until you’re strapped into one of these new coasters. Here’s just three brand new coasters hitting parks in 2012: :
· Leviathan - Canada’s Wonderland:
North of the border just outside Toronto proper sits one of Canada’s best theme parks, and once 2012 rolls around things will get even better. Leviathan will be the parks 16th coaster when it debuts next May. This $28 million roller coaster will feature an 80-degree initial drop, a bunch of crazy twists and turns, and it will last for over three and half minutes.
The track even buzzes past the front gates of the park, so you get a sneak peek when you first enter for the day. The coaster might just be one of the best in the world when it arrives, as it will be top ten based on speed and height. The thing rises over 300-feet and might just hit speeds of over 90mph.
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Has it already been a year then? Universal Studios' The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park just celebrated its first anniversary, after opening last June to much fan fare and continuting right through the winter and spring with crazy crowds. We were there on opening day, and although we're adults who travel around the world all year, being in the midst of that excitement still counts as one of the coolest things we did in 2010. The Wizarding World absolutely has the Jaunted seal of approval.
So, if you're heading down this summer for an icey mug of Butterbeer, a ride on the Chinese Fireball Dragon and maybe even a chocolate frog, there's a few things you need to know one year in:
After years of decline it looks like Coney Island has finally found its place in the 21st century, and things seem to be moving full speed ahead into the future. Last year Luna Park joined the theme park offerings, and this summer looks to welcome a pair of brand new roller coasters. Sure they aren’t the extreme offerings at some of the country’s bigger parks, but these are the first new coasters to hit the boardwalk in more than 80 years.
Scream Zone is one of the area’s newest amusement park spots, and recently they introduced the new rides. Soarin' Eagle and Steeplechase were welcomed by coaster fans—including Mayor Bloomberg—last week.
Theme Parks / Amusement Parks / Roller Coasters / Disney World / Disneyland / Cedar Point / Six Flags / Summer Travel / Lists / → All Tags
With the clocks moving ahead this weekend it’s only a matter of time before theme parks across the country throw open their gates for the summer season—check right here for the most anticipated theme park opening dates. However, if you’ve got more than one roller coaster in your sights, there are a few passes that will get you access to all the season’s screams and thrills. Here are our picks for the Three Best Park Passes for 2011:
· Cedar Fair Platinum Pass
There’s only 66 days until Cedar Point opens for the 2011 season, but that doesn’t mean that you need to wait to order your ticket. The ultimate season pass grants you access to every coaster, attraction, and ride in the Cedar Fair empire. So not only can you visit roller coaster mecca in Ohio for free, but any and all Cedar Fair parks are free too—think King’s Dominion and King’s Island. Free parking and exclusive ride nights are yours with the pass, but the best perk is getting into the park an hour before everyone else. All this can be yours for $165 per person, or $155 per person if you order in packs of four.
Even though March is just around the corner, the weather around much of the country makes it feel as if spring will never arrive. We’re remaining hopeful that it will, and that’s why we’re already planning our first roller coaster rides of the season. We looked into several theme parks across the country to see when they plan on firing up the corn dog machines, and here’s what we found:
Charlotte, North Carolina is one of the most southernmost parks in the country that shuts things down for the season, as it’s just not as warm as Florida. The summer season starts early enough here though, as the park cracks open the gates on Saturday, April 2.
· Cedar Point:
The granddaddy of all them parks in Sandusky, Ohio—at least where coasters are concerned—opens up for the season on Saturday, May 14. That’s only like 81 days from today, so start saving up for souvenirs along with the regular admission price.
We’ve been to the Disney version of a haunted house at both Mickey’s world and his land, but the latest spooky theme park news out of the United Kingdom appears to be way more hardcore.
At Thorpe Park in England, workers were busy doing their thing getting a new ride ready for visitors come this summer season, but when the bulldozers started moving the earth around they clearly disturbed something—or someone—that wasn’t as excited about the new attraction. After starting to construct a new water ride called Storm Surge park, workers noticed that bits and pieces of the ride starting moving around the construction scene on their own.
The Green Hornet has been in theaters for a few weeks now, but there’s another green super hero movie coming out later this year—and it has its very own roller coaster. The LA Times is calling the new ride “the most anticipated new roller coaster of the summer,” so we’re thinking when this thing finally arrives at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Southern California the line is going to be pretty long.
The coaster isn’t going to set any speed records when it debuts, but what makes it so unique and exciting is the way in which in moves riders. Things will be set in a sort of zigzag track, and plenty of tourists and locals alike will hold on for dear life as speeds approach close to 40mph as the ride twists and turns. It kind of simulates a marble falling down a series of tubes, and unfortunately—or fortunately—we’re the marbles.
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Sea creatures and aquariums might not be the first thing you think about when it comes to the holiday season, but SeaWorld Orlando is looking to change that. Since the weather stays warmer in Florida there is still plenty of fun to be had this month, and there’s no better roller coaster ride to experience during the holidays than Manta.
The people over at SeaWorld think that the Manta coaster does a great job of simulating what it’s like to sail through the water like a ray, but we’re thinking that this coaster does a great job of scaring the bejesus out of you. The coaster is shaped liked a creature from the deep and once strapped in, you’ll be swooping and soaring at speeds of close to 60mph. It’s not all up and down either, as this coaster goes through four inversions while you try to hold onto your seat as you navigate around 3,500 feet of track.
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While plenty of spots across the country are already getting hammered by winter weather, Southern California has remained mostly nice and sunny. The folks at Knott’s Berry Farm have done their best to create a warm version of a winter wonderland at the park, and there’s no need to brave the cold to take in their holiday decorations during Knott’s Merry Farm.
Even though it’s difficult to hang wreaths, lights, and garland from steel beams, you’ll still feel merry during a ride aboard the park’s Xcelerator roller coaster. Sitting within the park’s Boardwalk section, this ride brings back the 1950s with flame-kissed, fin-tailed hot rod cars right on the track. However, even a leather jacket with a popped collar can’t save you from the hydraulic launch—you’ll hit over 80 mph is just 2.3 seconds.
We’re not sure if Busch Gardens was a little intimidated by what Harry Potter has added to Florida’s theme park belt or what Legoland could bring to the state, but the park isn’t sitting around as they’re adding a new ride for the 2011 season. Basing things on their love of African critters, the park is planning to include the new coaster “Cheetah Hunt” on their theme park map next spring.
The coaster will have plenty of big numbers to thrill riders, like speeds of up to 60 mph and drops of over 130-feet. It will also be the park’s longest ride at over 4,000 feet, but the thing that makes it most unique is what it zooms over. Busch Gardens is adding a new cheetah exhibit to the park, and the new coaster will twist and turn side by side with some of the fastest creatures on earth.
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Vampires may be the cool kids now when it comes to the scary stuff, but that doesn’t mean that we’ve totally forgot about creatures like werewolves or mummies. Universal Studios in Orlando is an equal opps provider when it comes to giving attention to all kinds of creatures from beyond, but their main focus is their indoor coaster dedicated to The Mummy movie series.
The Revenge of the Mummy has been freaking out tourists for several years now, but its unique ride technology still puts it at the top of our list when it comes to scary coasters around the world. There’s quick turns, sudden stops, and of course plenty of creatures from the afterlife lurking around each turn and twist—not to mention plenty of beetles ready to attack!
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If you’re looking for a side of spooky with your fall theme park trip, there’s plenty of ghouls and ghosts hiding at parks across the country. While many parks are quick to put scarecrows and pumpkins by the ticket gates, there are only a few that have scares that rival their roller coasters. We took a look at three of these parks, and here’s what we found:
· Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Williamsburg:
Despite the park’s big plans for the next few summer seasons, there’s still plenty of cash left over to celebrate the season. Howl-O-Scream has arrived at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and, after dark, the park transforms into a place with plenty of frightening features. Just one of six haunted houses is Hunted, and here visitors make there way through 17th century Germany to search through the remains of long lost werewolf hunters. The park rates this one as five pumpkins out of five pumpkins—so we’ll take that as a good sign.
There’s plenty of shows where you can sit down and catch you breath, but just make sure you don’t miss some of the other haunted houses like Bitten and Catacombs. Tickets for the fall fun costs $64 if you order online, and that gets you access to the park for the whole day—as the scary stuff only comes out at night. Now through Halloween the park is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, so start planning your trip.