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According to Mother Nature it’s not technically summer for at least another month, but we go by the calendar and the season starts with Memorial Day weekend. Thankfully theme parks also seem to follow the calendar, so the last few weeks of May are always a good time to enjoy that new roller coaster smell. That’s especially the case over in Sandusky, Ohio, as once again Cedar Point is welcoming the amusement park season with a brand new ride.
This year it’s GateKeeper that’s taking up a permanent residence inside the park, as the new roller coaster breaks all kinds of records. With a 164-foot drop and over 4,000-feet of track it’s the best in its class, and that’s even before your get buckled in for a ride.
Amusement Park Travel / Theme Parks / Theme Park Travel / New York Travel / Coney Island / Food Travel / → All Tags
It's one of NYC's oldest and best attractions, and on May 24th, it opens for the season. Here are all the thrills you need to experience next time you visit...
Wonder Wheel: The king of rides at Coney Island contains 24 fully enclosed passenger cars, which can each hold up to 6 people (though if you're here on a date, you can keep the whole car to yourself). Not only are the views of the Atlantic Ocean awesome, but each individual car is on an 'S'-shaped track, so as the wheel turns, there is some lurching action that's sure to make your stomach flip.
Four more after the jump!
Theme Parks / Amusement Parks / Universal Orlando / Orlando Travel / Universal Studios / Harry Potter / The Wizarding World of Harry Potter / Travel News / → All Tags
If you're a Harry Potter fan even in the slightest, you might want to sit down for this news.
Not only has Universal Studios Orlando today revealed the first image of planned additions to come at The WIzarding World of Harry Potter, but they've announced that the new zone will be connected to the original Wizarding World by a recreation of the Hogwarts Express train.
Here's the full details:
Disney / Walt Disney World / Disneyland / Summer Travel / Amusement Parks / Theme Parks / → All Tags
In case you haven’t been flipping over the pages on the calendar—ours is still on March—we’re here to remind you that May is right around the corner. To us that means the unofficial kickoff to the summer season, and the first three-day weekend in what seems like a long time. Disney is apparently ready for the warmer weather, and they’re doing something unique to celebrate.
Certain Disney theme parks are getting ready to burn the midnight oil, as it sounds like some parks are going to open for 24-hours straight towards the end of May. The fun will take place on Friday, May 24, as the parks look to celebrate the month of Memorial Day Weekend and the start of the summer season.
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The other week we hit up Legoland California, namely to check out the just-opened Legoland Hotel, the first Legoland Hotel in the U.S. But with the hotel being adjacent to the theme park, we of course had to roam around for a few hours, marveling at all things Lego.
We'll have one of our handy theme park survival guides for you next week but we just thought we'd share this observation: Out of all the attractions, rides and displays at Legoland, the busiest one we encountered was The Big Shop.
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The weather is starting to get a little bit warmer, and sooner than later it’ll be time for the calendar to flip over to May. That means theme park season will officially be underway, so here’s a quick rundown of when some parks across the country are set to fire up their coasters for the very first time:
· Carowinds – Charlotte, North Carolina - April 19
· HersheyPark – Hershey, Pennsylvania - May 3
· Elitch Gardens Theme Park – Denver, Colorado - May 4
· Holiday World & Splashin' Safari – Santa Claus, Indiana - May 4
· Kennywood – West Mifflin, Pennsylvania - May 4
· Six Flags Great America – Chicago, Illinois - May 4
· Cedar Point – Sandusky, Ohio - May 11
· Darien Lake – Corfu, New York - May 11
· Great Escape – Lake George, New York - May 18
· Michigan's Adventure – Muskegon, Michigan - May 22
With the warmer weather comes theme park season, as parks across the country dust off the rides and attractions. In addition to bringing down the decorations from the attic and testing out all the old favorites, there’s also the opportunity to try out some new stuff.
There’s one coaster that we’re particularly intrigued with during this season, as we’re eager to check out the latest offering over at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri.
We’ve always had a spot in our hearts for the wooden roller coasters. Sure they might not go as fast as their steel siblings, but the twists and turns—not to mention the shimmies and shakes—more than make up for things. However, Outlaw Run is looking to change everything, as it’s going to be the world’s first wooden roller coaster to offer a double barrel roll. They’re not stopping there either, as the thing will also feature plenty of other firsts.
Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom boasts the "most expensive roller coaster in the world" -- Expedition Everest. So what does $100 MM buy you? For starters, the mountain that houses the coaster is reportedly the tallest in Florida, how apropos. Furthermore, Everest is the first roller coaster to switch between forward and backward sections during a single ride.
However, most importantly, the ride feels smooth, not rickety and jerky, which is important seeing that riders are dropped 80 feet down the tallest mountain in FLA.
The coolest part of the coaster is when your train comes to an abrupt stop as the train track in front of you appears broken, falling off into the air of nothingness. Just when you think you might be stuck for good your train hurls you backwards, quickly, which makes you feel like you are going inverted, even though it is just your mind playing tricks on you.
Insider Info: You are an official Disney Denizen if you know why the Yeti you encounter mid ride is referred to as "Disco Yeti"
Did you know that a large percentage of girls ages 4 - 12 visit Walt Disney World wearing full blown princess attire? Yeah, this princess thing is huge. Not one to miss a trend, the Disney folks were sure to incorporate plenty of princess themed attractions in the new Fantasyland.
One of the most popular new attractions is Enchanted Tales with Belle where visitors will interact with Belle in her faux French country cottage home. Inside her home you will use props to help recreate the Beauty and the Beast tale. Interaction is the key as visitors can act out scenes, and of course, take part in the popular princess meet-and-greet.
Disney is well aware that character interactions are the life blood of the park, however, they are also aware that parents of today's kids long for the days when characters roamed free in the parks creating extended impromptu character interactions. While we all know impromptu meet ups are a thing of the past, attractions like "Belle" help young visitors extend their character interactions to more than just thirty seconds.
Quick check of the Disney mobile app shows that the current wait time for this attraction is 40 minutes.. There is currently no fast pass for this attraction, so it is recommended you hit this one up first thing in the A.M.
If you are going to Walt Disney World with a boy between the ages of 4 and 12 chances are they will be mesmerized by the prospects of training to be Jedi knight at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The 20 minute Jedi training and Sith lord fight takes place right next to the classic Star Tours ride. A Jedi Master (one of which who looks remarkably like Qui-Gon Jinn) begins a dual training process that takes place both on stage and in the area directly below the stage.
Suddenly, Dart Vader shows up with a couple Storm Troopers and the younglings get ready for battle. If you are visiting during high season, Darth Maul also comes out to taunt the wannabe jedi. After a bit of posing the two Sith systematically battle the queued up youngsters. Remarkably, during our visit, none of the kids got out overly aggressive and everyone listened closely to the Jedi master as he led them through their battle.
Theme Parks / Amusement Parks / Universal Orlando / Orlando Travel / Harry Potter / The Wizarding World of Harry Potter / → All Tags
As if Universal Studios wasn't already double-downing on brand new Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme parks coming to their Hollywood and Japan locations, they've even announced a "significant expansion" going on at the Orlando original WWoHP.
That's about all we know for sure, but it's enough to get the rumor mills whirring.
Here's what's being said about the Orlando Wizarding World expansion right now:
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Once again it’s time to break out the bulldozers and construction gear down at Walt Disney World; however, they’re not exactly building a new theme park. What they are doing is revamping and redoing the Downtown Disney area into something a little bit more than just shops and stores. They’re giving it a makeover, so that tourists everywhere will be even more interested in exchanging those hard earned dollars for Disney souvenirs.
They’re calling it Disney Springs, as it looks like they’re going for a kind of retro style with the renovation. The official Disney Parks Blog goes into some detail about how Downtown Disney has been kicking around for 30 years or so, but now it’s time to do something a little better. They even mention that they’ve scrapped existing ideas a couple times; as things the ideas just didn't come together in the right sort of way.