SoCal Theme Parks Hold Wallets Hostage: Fall 2010 – Summer 2011 Guide: Secret Tron Ride, Bizzaro Revamp & More

I hope you’ve all seen Chevy Chase in his classic role as Clark; father of 2, wonderful husband, and witty family guru. Clark had the family, the money, and the unstoppable willingness to arrive at Walley World, the best fictional amusement park ever! Before I go on and give you all the wonderful news about our neighborhood amusement parks, you must first watch this insanely classic clip of National Lampoons – Family Vacation!

Are we all in the right mind set? Good! What we have in store, no wonder our wallets, and the money inside, are  going to be held hostage!

Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park is a well known alternative for Orange County folks who don’t want to drive out to Valencia for Six Flags Magic Mountain, spend the cash to revisit childhood memories in Anaheim’s Disney Parks or be bored at a movie back lot (Universal Studios, Hollywood). Do you remember the Sky Cabin at Knott’s? It was the tallest architectural monument in Orange County, before Supreme Scream.

This 225 foot gyro dinosaur has been around since 1976. It’s a relic that’s seen little change except for the parachute ride drop that lasted about one year; circa 1999. This past week Dutch manufacturer, Mondial, released patent plans for the new ride to take this old baby out! Can you say, “Swing ride on steroids?” This puppy will be slightly lower then Supreme Scream. We can not wait to feel death rushing through our bones on this beast! “Hey I can see my house from here!”

The WindSeeker – Completion 2011

Knott’s Berry Farms Halloween Haunt is just around the corner. The 38th annual Knott’s Scary Farm will feature 13 mazes, 3 scare zones, and seven shows.

Two new shows will feature Ed Alonzo, who was the illusionist in Britney Spears 2009 “Circus” tour, adding comedy and magic together in the Charles Schultz Theater.

The others will feature “Bang” by the Street Drum Corps in Camp Snoopy.

3 new mazes also bring new light to 2010! Sleepy Hallow will have a headless horsemen and with stalking ghouls. This will be replacing the Pyromaniax theme in the Timber Mountain log ride.

Virus Z will be replacing the Quarantine maze in Fiesta Plaza and will feature a small town overrun by cannibals, zombies, and maniacs!

Fallout Shelter will replace the Alien Annihilation laser tag maze with monsters who haven’t seen the sun since the television show Lost got horribly lost…

Keeping with the theme, Universal Studios – Hollywood, is also upping the ante for their Halloween Horror Nights. These guys are like the rich kid at school who had everything and never worked for it. I am not being biased of the inflow of cash that they receive compared to Cedar Farms, investment firm owner of Knott’s,  but COME ON! 2010 will feature 5 mazes, and six scare zones.

Besides this and that big hairy gorilla you can see in 3-D, Universal Studios will premier the first Southern California BODY DRYER! Yup. Instead of getting all soaked from Jurassic Park: The Ride and waiting for the unbearable chafing that occurs afterward, you now can blow dry your body for a nominal fee.

LegoLand and Knott’s are among others that will bring this service into production.

Keeping the ball rolling, more north – Six Flags Magic Mountain. It was believed that for the past two years the park would close due to the lack of visitors and would ultimately be bought out by a housing firm to create lush new track homes. Fortunately that was never fulfilled and Southern California still has its only thrill ride hot spot. Six Flags is infamous for creating insane roller coasters subtly throughout the years. In keeping with that tradition, they have quietly closed down Superman: The Escape.

This $20 million, 415-ft tall, 100 mph, 4.5G’s, and 6.5 second of weightlessness magnetic launch rocket monster is getting a makeover. Rumor has it that the refurbished theme will feature Bizarro, Superman’s evil clone!  Six Flags New England, Massachusetts, and Six Flags Great Adventure, New Jersey, got the Bizarro change-up as well. The reopening will be sometime in Spring 2011!

And saving the big guns for last… The Disney Parks in Southern California have been releasing themes, shows, and rides, one after another nonstop, since this summer started and they are not done yet! We all know that Disney’s California Adventure Park just unveiled their baby, World of Color. A 26-film, 130,000 digital image montage of what the animators at the Walt Disney Company have been able to do in the past quarter century.

At the same time with the release was the reopening of the classic Wave-Swinger ride with a Mickey Mouse theme in Paradise Pier and Glow Fest: Dance Party in Hollywoodland, a place transformed at night by music, lights, booze, and glow! If you lived in Hunter S. Thompson’s world, it might have read, “transformed by fright at night with lights, music, booze and blow!”

Going with the dubbed “Disneyfiction” strategy that has worked thus far, the refurbishment of Mullholland Madness will go underway. It will be featured as Goofy’s Sky School, which will add a new look to the ride. Riders will get the feel of being over, in, and around clouds with funny sky pathways while being instructed on how to be a pilot. This theme goes hand in hand with the Soaring Over California ride and sounds awesome!!  It is a good thing that Disney finally got their act together about how to go about making a 60’s California feel blended with imagination.

Right next door will be the launch of The Little Mermaid ride! It has taken the spot where Whoopie Goldberg once amazed us of what all California has to offer…LAME! Courtesy of the LA Times, here is a scene by scene recount of the ride.

Scene 1 — The loading area features a panoramic mural with all the main movie characters and a seaside castle.

Scene 2 — Audio-animatronic versions of Sebastian the crab and Scuttle the seagull set up the ride’s back story.

Scene 3 — A blast of cold air and a visual illusion make riders feel as if they are submerging underwater as the clam shell vehicle descends into the heart of the dark ride.

Scene 4 — Riders pass through Ariel’s treasure-lined mermaid grotto with sidekicks Sebastian and Flounder as the song “Part of Your World” plays.

Scene 5 — Sebastian conducts an audio-animatronic orchestra of sea creatures in the ride’s main showroom to the tune of “Under the Sea.”

Scene 6 — In Ursula’s lair, riders pass under menacing rock work as henchmen eels Flotsam and Jetsam lurk nearby during the villainous sea witch’s big diva musical number “Poor Unfortunate Souls.”

Scene 7 — The clam shell vehicle appears to ascend from the ocean depths.

Scene 8 — Ariel and Prince Eric kiss on a rowboat to the strains of “Kiss the Girl” as geysers spout water.

Scene 9 — The spell-breaking kiss drives Ursula mad as “Love’s First Kiss” plays amid gathering storm clouds.

Scene 10 — The “Happily Ever After” finale scene has been kept a closely guarded secret by Walt Disney Imagineers.

Scene 11 — Riders unload as Ariel and Eric stand atop the castle, King Triton salutes them from the water and Sebastian waves goodbye.

It’s not all rides!! While Glow Fest runs to an end this August, Disney is planning on keeping it up with the new installment of the Tron: Legacy film. With a working title dubbed ElecTRONica, this would start sometime in November and go through the seasons, up until the release of the featured film. This will showcase hip hop dancers, dj’s, and will feature sci-fi themed music and cocktails! The former “Who Wants to Be A Millionaire” soundstage is being considered to being turned into a light infused Flynn’s Arcade Experience and the Hollywood & Dine food court may be turning into the End of The Line theme, a nightclub featured in film Tron: Legacy! These would go hand-in-hand with what Glow fest had to offer, except with a detailed theme and awesome concept.

And that’s not all! Rumor has it if Flynn’s Arcade is a success, along with the film, the new address will be in the old arcade building housed near Space Mountain.  Also it has been heavily rumored that Disney Imagineers are secretly working on plans to FINALLY, ONCE AND FOR ALL, turn the People Mover tracks into a Tron: Legacy E-Ticket experience!

Disney also will unveil their new float parade as well in Spring 2011. Nine floats will make for “Mickey’s-Soundsational”, which will replace the current “Celebrate! A Street Party”. The parade will feature drummers, dancers, and floats with themed characters such as: Peter Pan, Marry Poppins, The Princess and the Frog, Disney Princesses, Aladdin, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, and the return of the Three Caballeros.

Slated for a 2012 launch will be the brand new Car’s Land, a 12-acre addition to Disney’s Grand California Adventure Park. The main attraction will be the newest E-Ticket ride called Radiator Springs. This $200 million ride that will last 4 minutes will take you and your passengers through hair-pin turns, straightaways and some stalactite caverns! The ride will go side-by-side with another car also carrying riders and random race winners will always be determined at the finish line.  LA Times has a complete wrap up of the new land and the ride.

Finally and unfortunately it can not all be about additions. In with the new and out with the old, right?! The Maliboomer tower will have its last rider shot into space on September 6th, 2010. Current plans are to make it a shaded park for meet and greets with characters. However with the revamping of the California Park, initial plans, to go along with the Toy Story theme and nearby rides, were to build a Little Green Army Men parachute drop but all is undetermined.

Stay tuned for more fun facts and we hope you had a wonderful summer to experience some of the mentioned theme parks!

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