U.S. Theme Parks Unveil New Attractions for 2009

April 27, 2009
Revised June 1, 2009




Alexandria, Virginia (United States) – Amusement parks and attractions across America are unveiling millions of dollars in new attractions to entertain the more than 300 million visitors they expect to welcome this summer. From state-of-the-art roller coasters, exciting thrill rides, and enriching family experiences to enchanting children’s attractions, spectacular shows, concerts, and special events, there’s something new for all ages at U.S. theme parks this year.

“Now more than ever, people want to escape the pressures of the day-to-day world and take a break,” said Charles Bray, president and CEO for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA).  “America’s 400 amusement parks and attractions provide the perfect getaway for that quality time with friends and families,” he added.   Continuing, Bray said, “We know families will look for value and new experiences when they decide how to spend their entertainment dollars this summer and attractions operators from coast to coast have responded with a wide variety of new attractions and unprecedented deals to address those needs.” 

Here is a sampling of the new attractions opening in parks across the nation this summer:

New Coasters and Thrill Rides Coast-To-Coast

  • Carowinds, near Charlotte on the border of North and South Carolina, introduces the“Carolina Cobra” roller coaster.The 125-foot-tall steel ride stands as the second tallest coaster in the park and travels the same track forward and backward. www.carowinds.com
  • CrackerJax in Scottsdale, Ariz. offers $10 bungee jumps on the new “Xtreme Power Jumper. The bungee trampoline allows up to four people to safely perform aerobatics and jump as high as 25 feet. www.CrackerJax.com
  • Funtown Splashtown USA, located in Saco, Maine, adds a new roller coaster, the “Wild Mouse.” Nearly 50 feet tall and more than 1,200 feet long, the coaster is the only one of its kind in New England and features tight turns and thrilling dips. www.kidszoo.org
  • Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Ind., opens “Pilgrim’s Plunge” as the world's tallest water ride, with a drop of 131 feet. Riders in a large boat travel up an open-air elevator to the top of the tower; the resulting plunge creates a wall of water 45 feet high and 90 feet wide. www.holidayworld.com
  • Kings Island near Cincinnati debuts “Diamondback,” a 5,282-foot long steel roller coaster topping out at 230 feet tall and featuring open-air stadium-style seating, promising excellent views from every chair. Kings Island is the first park in the U.S. to introduce this style of coaster train.  www.visitkingsisland.com
  • SeaWorld Orlando adds the massive steel roller coaster “Manta, inspired by the underwater motion of the giant manta ray. Riders are placed in a face-down position as they enjoy glides, swoops, and dives at 60 miles per hour on 3,359 feet of track. The attraction will also boast an aquarium section in its queue available to riders and nonriders alike.www.seaworld.com/orlando
  • Six Flags Great Adventure & Wild Safari in Jackson, N.J., has redesigned the “Medusa” coaster to the all-new “Bizarro.” Key thematic elements of the attraction, set to open in late May, are designed to emulate the powers and abilities of DC Comic villain, Bizarro. The 3,985-foot winding journey of storytelling and high-tech elements ends by sending riders head first into a spiked-shaped “Auger of Doom,” set inside interlocking corkscrews. Additionally, the park welcomes two rare African lion cub this season, the first lion cub births at Six Flags Wild Safari in nearly 20 years. www.sixflags.com/greatadventure
  • Six Flags Great Escape in Lake George, N.Y. will add the first thrill ride in over a decade, the“Sasquatch” drop tower. “Sasquatch” will be the tallest ride in the park at 192 feet tall. Riders blast off with a force of 4.5 Gs and in three seconds, shoot up 19 stories in the air, before plummeting back to earth in a series of air cushioned bounces. Riders will experience 4.5 Gs from the initial power blast. www.sixflags.com/greatEscape

  • Six Flags Magic Mountain in Los Angeles will unveil “Terminator® Salvation™: The Ride” in 2009. Riders are transported into a desolate future to battle alongside a post-apocalyptic legion of soldiers. With five belly-flopping hills and six high speed banked turns, the new ride combines state-of-the-art technology with the classic heart-pounding thrills of a wooden roller coaster. www.sixflags.com/magicmountain
  • Six Flags New England in Agawam, Mass. redesigned its “Superman: Ride of Steel” roller coaster with imaginative special effects and newly renovated trains. The renamed “Bizarro”takes riders on a three minute and 22 second journey through fog banks, fire bursts, and heart-pumping audio (including custom-built audio in each rider’s headrest).www.sixflags.com/newEngland
  • The “Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit” roller coaster will open at Universal Studios Florida in time for summer. The ride features a combination of audio and special effects engineering, sophisticated on- and off-board video, and guest personalization to create a roller coaster experience unlike any other. www.universalorlando.com
  • Worlds of Fun in Kansas City opens “Prowler,” a sprawling wooden roller coaster tangled within the park’s forested terrain. The $8 million attraction sends riders through elevation changes of 102 feet throughout 3,074 feet of track. www.worldsoffun.com

Family Attractions

  • Adventure Park USA in New Market, Md. will open the “O.K. Corral” attraction by Battlezone. The new attraction designed provides up to 22 players the thrill of fast-paced interactive gameplay. Fourteen players are stationed at mounted guns, protecting eight teammates in mobile cages, all while soaking opponents in opposite cages. www.adventureparkusa.com
  • Belmont Park in San Diego adds two new attractions, the “Magical Mystery Mirror Maze” and“The Vault Laser Maze Challenge. www.belmontpark.com
  • DelGrosso’s Amusement Park in Tipton, Pa., opens three new rides: “Dizzy Dragons” is a spinning ride with a family-friendly dragon theme; the “Yo-Yo Swing Ride” spinning chair attraction; and “Pharaoh’s Fury” giant rocking ship. www.delgrossos.com/rides.html
  • Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colo., kicks off its 10th season with three new attractions. The additions include a laser tag arena; “Speleobox,” a spelunking simulator experience; and Colorado’s first 4-D movie theater, which combines a high-definition 3-D film experience with moving seats, bursts of wind, and other sensory surprises for the audience. www.glenwoodcaverns.com
  • Kings Dominion in Doswell, Va., adds “Americana, a 110-foot Ferris wheel, and “El Dorado,” a high-in-the-sky swinging pendulum ride. www.kingsdominion.com
  • California’s famed Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is offering something for everyone with a new ride, an extra beach concert, fireworks, and new summer show. “Sea Swings, the Boardwalk’s new carousel swing, invokes nostalgia of a classic amusement park ride.www.beachboardwalk.com
  • Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, Calif., debuts “Odin's Temple of the Tiger, an exhibit and show attraction highlighting the park's 11 tigers including Odin, the internationally-acclaimed white Bengal tiger and two recently acquired tiger cubs.www.sixflags.com/discoverykingdom
  • Six Flags Great America, located outside of Chicago, opens “Buccaneer Battle, a pirate-themed interactive water attraction incorporating lighting, music, dialogue, costumes, sets, and special effects. www.sixflags.com/greatamerica
  • Six Flags Over Georgia’s historic “Monster Plantation” dark ride underwent a major renovation to become the new “Monster Mansion” at the theme park outside Atlanta. The experience includes music, playful monster animatronics, and family-friendly storyline that’s lured millions of visitors and consistently ranked among the most popular attractions at the park. The new voyage features a slate of surprises, including new characters, music, interactive elements, and a re-themed storyline. In addition, many of the original monsters will return to the new “Mansion.” www.sixflags.com/overgeorgia
  • Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando will expand its family centered activities with“Characters in Flight” at Downtown Disney West Side and the “Bon Appétit from Chef Remy” experience in the Les Chefs de France restaurant in Epcot’s France pavilion. “Characters in Flight” will include Mary Poppins, Peter Pan, and Dumbo. These tethered hot-air balloon rides will run seven days a week and take flight from Downtown Disney West Side. “Bon Appétit from Chef Remy” features Remy, a new audio-animatronics character from Walt Disney Imagineering modeled after the rat-turned-chef star of the Disney-Pixar film “Ratatouille.” http://disneyworld.disney.go.com

For The Kids

  • Busch Gardens Europe in Williamsburg, Va., expands its children's offerings with a new home for Elmo, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, and Big Bird at the park’s new Sesame Street Forest of Fun themed land. Four new anchor rides offer kid-size versions of popular attractions, including a junior roller coaster and log flume themed after beloved “Sesame Street” characters. www.buschgardens.com/BGW2
  • The Disneyland attraction “it’s a small world” returns to Fantasyland in 2009, with new storytelling magic. The “it’s a small world” journey celebrates children of the world with a message of harmony and friendship. For the first time, guests will find 29 Disney and Disney·Pixar characters represented throughout the attraction. The ride also has a new “Spirit of America” scene, musical enhancements, and a fresh look for some of the attraction’s familiar child dolls. Additionally, the ongoing expansion of Disney’s California Adventure continues this spring with the openings of the re-themed Ferris wheel “Mickey’s Fun Wheel, and the “Games of the Boardwalk” featuring Disney-themed games.http://disneyland.disney.go.com
  • The former Hard Rock Park, which opened in 2008, is scheduled to reopen with the new name Freestyle Music Park, featuring four new children’s rides in a new 17,000 square foot kiddie area called “Kids in America.” The new rides, from Italian ride manufacturer Zamperla, are “Get Off My Cloud,” “Fly Like an Eagle,” “Wheels in the Sky,” and “Life is a Highway,” after their respective hit songs. www.freestylemusicpark.com
  • Hersheypark in Hershey, Pa., expands its popular Boardwalk section, which opened in 2007, with two new attractions. “The Shore” is a nearly 378,000-gallon wave pool which blends fresh and filtered water to simulate the ocean’s currents. “Intercoastal Waterway” is a lazy river-style attraction inspired by the smooth boating passages of the East Coast.www.hersheypark.com
  • Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pa., introduces two rides geared toward their younger guests: “Goin’ Buggy” and “Kiddie Himalya. Located in the children’s area of the park, “Goin’ Buggy” allows kids to sail in the air on the back of colorful ladybug carts. “Kiddie Himalaya” is a children’s version of the adult Himalaya-style ride, with cars traveling in a connected circle in alternating sloped and flat sections accompanied by colorful lights and music. Parents can ride comfortably alongside children on the ride, which has been a hit at the admission-free park. www.knoebels.com
  • Lake Winnepesaukah in Chattanooga, Tenn., will introduce the new “Stay & Play Hideaway, a play attraction with three sections: “Chill Down Kid Town, with interactive misters and water elements to keep guests cool; “Runaround Playground, a play area with towers and ladders; and the neighboring “Linger Longer, where adults can take a break throughout the day. www.lakewinnie.com
  • Legoland® California in Carlsbad, Calif., will open the new “Bob the Builder™ In 4-D: Bob the Builder and the Roller Coaster” attraction, which will run several times daily in the LEGO® Show Place Theater. The 10-minute film uses 3-D computer-generated animation with special effects such as wind and mist for a 4-D effect. Opening Fourth of July weekend at the park is “Dune Raiders, a nearly 30-foot-tall slide, which will simulate a magic carpet experience. Legoland® California also celebrates its tenth birthday this year with a fireworks display each Saturday at 8:30 p.m. www.legoland.com/california
  • Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier in California introduces five new family-friendly kids’ rides. “Inkie’s Air Lift” combines the movements of a tea cup-style ride and hot air balloon race. “Sig Alert EV” takes electric vehicle tech to the bumper car experience. “Sea Planes”lets riders control their height and speed of ascent up and over the pier decking. The“Rockin’ Tug” lets riders set sail with ride motions simulating an adventure at sea. “Santa Monica Pier Patrol” takes kids and parents on a simulated beach patrol ride in junior-size trucks. The 3,300-square-foot Seaside Pavilion is also new to the park, providing shade and relaxation for special events from corporate gatherings and movie premieres to weddings and birthdays. www.pacpark.com
  • Six Flags America welcomes “Capital Railways”, a new family-friendly train ride through the scenic Maryland countryside. www.sixflags.com/america

Shows Take Center Stage for Summer

  • California’s Great America in Santa Clara, Calif., introduces “All Wheels Extreme,” a high-flying sports stunt show presented in the park’s Redwood Amphitheater. This 25-minute, high-energy experience features a talented cast of daredevils, including BMX riders, skateboarders, inline skaters, and gymnasts. www.cagreatamerica.com
  • Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio will introduce the “Starlight Experience” on the Frontier Trail this summer. As music plays guests will walk through a canopy of lights with colors themed to the changing seasons and see larger-than-life PEANUTS™ characters, like Snoopy, on display.  In addition, the Palace Theatre will present Live Music at the Palace”, while country music fans can enjoy Got Country!” in the Red Garter Saloon. www.cedarpoint.com/
  • Darien Lake Theme Park Resort in New York launches six new shows this summer, including“Survivor Live,” “Bob the Builder,” “RockNation,” “Country Unleashed,” “Rhythm Recycled, and “Dance Break. www.godarienlake.com
  • Disneyland in Anaheim, California, features a new street show, “Celebrate! A Street Party,a daily spectacle of music, dance, and guest participation on Main Street, U.S.A.http://disneyland.disney.go.com
  • “Summer Nightastic!” brings a series of nighttime shows and parades to life at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. A huge new dragon and other special effects will highlight the night-time fireworks and visual hydrotechnic show “Fantasmic!”; explosive surprises will illuminate the night sky in the all-new fireworks spectacular, “Magical”; new audio and visual technologies enhance “Disney’s Electrical Parade”; and nighttime visitors will find magical surprises as Tinker Bell’s home, “Pixie Hollow” and the nearby pond come to life in iridescent light shows. www.disneyland.com/summer
  • “The American Idol Experience” debuted in February at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Fla., giving guests the chance to watch, perform, and vote for favorite singers in a meticulous re-creation of the blockbuster television show. Daily winners earn a guaranteed future audition in front of the real-life “Idol” judges.http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/hollywood-studios

  • Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio will introduce the “Starlight Experience” along the Frontier Trail this summer. Guests will have a multi-sensory experience as they immerse themselves in a canopy of lights that will feature music and lighted displays. www.cedarpoint.com

  • Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., premieres two new shows: “Imaginé,” presented by Le Grand Cirque, will headline Dollywood’s annual Festival of Nations in the spring; “Sha-Kon-O-Hey! The Land of Blue Smoke” is part of Dollywood’s celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.www.dollywood.com
  • New in Startoon Studios at Elitch Gardens in Denver, Bob the Builder and two members of his Can-Do crew use singing, dancing, and building, to get the job done in the new show “Bob the Builder, Live at Elitch Gardens!” Also new in the Elitch Arena, guests will learn about sea lions while enjoying their crazy antics in the interactive live show “Sea Lion Splash.www.elitchgardens.com
  • California’s famed Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk will continue a longstanding tradition of free entertainment on the beach, the Boardwalk presents “Cirque Magnifique” on the beach bandstand every Sunday through Thursday from July through August.www.beachboardwalk.com
  • Six Flags America will expand its Starburst® Summer Concert Series to 18 shows between June and August. Guest can enjoy performances by Mitchell Musso, Raven-Symoné, and Drake Bell. www.sixflags.com/america
  • Beginning July 4, Six Flags Great Adventure & Wild Safari in Jackson, N.J., will debut a fireworks series called “Saturday Night Lights.This display will feature pounding decades of popular rock music, with a special nod to New Jerseyfavorites.www.sixflags.com/greatadventure
  • Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom theme park adds the 2009 Starburst® Summer Concert Serieswith guests like Colbie Caillat, tobyMac, Jesse McCartney, Raven-Symoné, and Boys Like Girls. www.sixflags.com/kentuckykingdom
  • Six Flags Over Texas adds a nighttime “Glow in the Park” parade and will feature musical guests like Miranda Cosgrove, Raven-Symoné, Boys Like Girls, and Mitchel Musso in itsStarburst® Summer Concert Serieswww.sixflags.com/overtexas
  • Six Flags St. Louis theme park adds a nighttime “Glow in the Park” parade and will feature musical guests like Miranda Cosgrove, Jesse McCartney, and Colbie Caillat in its Starburst® Summer Concert Serieswww.sixflags.com/stLouis

New Exhibits Top the List at Museums and Zoos

Many of the nation’s top museums and zoos are introducing new attractions and experiences.

  • The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo brings families face to face with African lions, giraffes, monkeys, mongoose, and more on the all-new, 22-acre “African Journey.” www.kidszoo.org

  • Guests at the John Hancock Observatory in Chicago will find a new multimedia “Sky Tour”for adults and kids and the world’s highest Espression by Lavazza café. www.hancock-observatory.com/en/

  • The Minnesota Zoo opens the interactive nature-based play area “Woodland Adventure,which provides 3- to 12-year-olds the opportunity to reconnect with the great outdoors by discovering sculptures of animals and natural objects, exploring hollow tree boles, and climbing on suspension bridges, nets, tunnels, and slides. www.mnzoo.org

  • The world-famous Florida-based “Weeki Wachee Mermaids, known for their grace and beauty for the past 62 years, will appear at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies in Gatlinburg, Tenn., in May, and at Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in July. Ripley’s Aquarium in Myrtle Beach is also opening its newest exhibit “Babies, featuring more than 30 interactive and live exhibits. “Lethal Weapons” at Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies helps visitors discover some of the most lethal animals on earth, exploring their daily struggles for survival. www.ripleysaquarium.com and www.ripleysaquariumofthesmokies.com

  • Meandering through a 7.5-acre multi-species habitat, San Diego Zoo guests will discoveranimals of the past such as mammothsand animals of the present such aselephants in the “The Harry and Grace Steele Elephant Odyssey” opening May 23,2009.www.elephantodyssey.com

  • Rare California condors, the symbol of endangered species, are the centerpiece of“California Trails,” a new exhibit now open at the Santa Barbara Zoo. Also on view are Channel Island foxes, found only on the islands off the coast; desert tortoises, once commonplace, but now facing habitat destruction; bald eagles, who are making a comeback after pesticides ravaged their numbers; and local raptors, amphibians and reptiles.www.sbzoo.org
  • The Walt Disney Family Museum opens in San Francisco’s historic Presidio in the fall to tell the story of the life and work of Walt Disney. www.waltdisney.org

International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) is the premier trade association for the attractions industry worldwide. Founded more than 90 years ago, IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently situated amusement facilities and attractions and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the amusement industry.IAAPA represents more than 4,000 attraction, supplier, and individual members from more than 90 countries. IAAPA is online at www.IAAPA.org.


Contact Information
Press Office: +1 703/299-5127
Colleen Mangone: cmangone@IAAPA.org
David Mandt: dmandt@IAAPA.org
Nicholas Wolaver: nicholas.wolaver@edelman.com

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