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U.S. Theme Parks Open New Rides and Attractions

April 14, 2010
Updated June 30, 2010

U.S. Theme Parks Open New Rides and Attractions in 2010

Families Experience Fresh Thrills and Exciting Adventures

Alexandria, Virginia (United States) – As summer approaches, vacation plans begin, and 400 amusement parks across the United States open their gates, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) releases its annual preview of new rides and attractions.

“Our guests love to have new experiences at their favorite park. This year will not disappoint. Hearts are pounding, and excitement is building coast to coast, as parks and attractions prepare to open,” said Charlie Bray, president and CEO of IAAPA, the worldwide trade association for the attractions industry. “From moms and dads to teens and toddlers, whether you are seeking an adrenaline rush, an extreme adventure, or family fun, there is something new for everyone opening at parks throughout the U.S. this year.”

Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of new products will entertain the more than 300 million annual visitors who will contribute more than $57 billion* to the nation’s economy when visiting amusement parks and attractions across the United States. From state-of-the-art roller coasters and exhilarating thrill rides, extreme sports and adventure-based attractions, and quality family experiences to fun-filled kid’s rides, interactive games, extravagant shows, and more, guests of all ages will find something new to enjoy this year.

Here is a sampling of what’s new in parks and attractions:

Roller Coasters and Thrill Rides for Adrenaline Seekers

  • Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Va., celebrates its 35th year with “Europe in the Air, a new simulator attraction in which guests will feel like they are flying over gorgeous terrain and past the continent’s most beloved landmarks. Guests dive low over Stonehenge, soar past Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, and float over the Coliseum in Rome. www.buschgardens.com
  • Carowinds, the park that straddles the North Carolina/South Carolina state line near Charlotte, introduces a new roller coaster inspired by NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt. The 232-foot-tall “Intimidator” sends riders down a 211-foot first drop, then races 80 miles per hour through more than a mile of high-speed twists and turns, and seven more extreme drops. www.carowinds.com
  • Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, opens a new 2,100-foot-long water thrill ride, “Shoot the Rapids, which simulates white-water rapids. The three-minute ride takes guests in 10-passenger boats on an exciting ride complete with an 85-foot drop and a scenic tour around the Frontier Trail and Millennium Island. www.cedarpoint.com
  • Clementon Park and Splash World in Clementon, N.J., introduces “Ring of Fire,” a towering 60-foot loop ride that brings guests to a standstill upside down six stories high. Twenty riders will turn up and over, backward, and forward, while its more than 2,000 synchronized lights give off hues of fire, yellow, red, orange, and blue. www.clementonpark.com
  • Dorney Park in Allentown, Pa., opens “Demon Drop, the park’s first free-fall attraction. The 131-foot-tall ride has a four-person car that moves horizontally to the base of the tower before climbing to the top. Once at the top, riders hang in mid-air for just a moment before plummeting 60 feet in less than two seconds. www.dorneypark.com
  • Kennywood in West Mifflin, Pa., introduces “Sky Rocket,” a new launch coaster that takes riders from zero to 50 mph in less than three seconds. The ride features a 95-foot vertical climb, a 90-degree drop, three inversions, and a corkscrew. www.kennywood.com
  • Kings Dominion in Doswell, Va., debuts the “Intimidator 305, a 5,100-foot-long-steel coaster named for racing legend Dale Earnhardt. Guests ride up the 305-foot-tall lift hill in trains fashioned after Earnhardt’s signature black car, then descend 300 feet at an 85- degree-angle roaring along the track at speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour during its three-minute race to the finish.  www.intimidator305.com
    • B-roll and images are available from the park upon request.
  • The first phase of the new Luna Park at Coney Island in Brooklyn, N.Y., opens this summer. Luna Park features 19 traditional and state-of-the-art rides, games, food and beverage concessions, and live entertainment. Four new rides debut, including “Air Race, which flies riders around a center control tower, and “Speedy Coaster, a gravity coaster designed especially for families.

  • Nickelodeon Universe inside Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., opens “Brain Surge.The ride, themed after the Nickelodeon game show BrainSurge, features eight two-passenger cars which sit off to the side of the coaster track. Riders control the action and can flip their cars in forward somersaults as they spin around a glowing brain at 35 miles per hour.www.mallofamerica.com
  • Seabreeze Park in Rochester N.Y., opens “The Revolution 360°. Riders sit facing outward on a motorcycle-like pedestal seat affixed to a giant disk that spins 360 degrees in both directions. Riders feel as if they are floating on air as the platform glides back and forth, climbing five stories high on a half-pipe track. 
  • The Stratosphere Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev., launches “SkyJump.” Best described as a “controlled freefall,” riders will leap out from the 1,149-foot Stratosphere Tower and descend to a platform below. Guide wires keep riders from straying off course and bring them to a controlled and safe landing. www.stratospherehotel.com/thrills
  • Universal’s Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Fla., opens The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, inspired by J.K. Rowling’s best-selling novels. The multimillion-dollar project transcends generations and brings the wonder and magic of the amazingly detailed Harry Potter books and films to life through rides and attractions, including “Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey,” “Flight of the Hippogriff, and “Dragon Challenge. The new area of the park also has a restaurant and shops like “Dervish and Banges,” filled with Harry Potter items. www.universalorlandoresort.com/harrypotter
  • “King Kong: 360 3-D” at Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City, Calif., brings King Kong to life. Guests follow the storyline of the 2005 blockbuster movie on this Backlot Studio Tour set in New York City and watch a re-creation of a fight in the film between King Kong and a T-Rex. www.universalstudioshollywood.com
  • ZDT’s Amusement Park in Seguin, Texas, introduces “Dizzy Toucan” and a ride simulator. Passengers on “Dizzy Toucan” face outward as the gondola rotates and swings back and forth up to 120 degrees. Guests can become a fighter pilot, design and ride a roller coaster, or design and experience a bobsled course. www.zdtamusement.com

Attractions for the Extreme Sport Enthusiast and Adventure Seeker

  • Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, S.C., provides new adventures for guests with the addition of a zip line and rope course. The zip line ride flies adrenaline seekers 500 feet back and forth across a lake 50 feet in the air. On the ropes course, adults and children can climb three stories of ropes and encounter more than 20 different obstacles and activities, including a tire traverse, suspension bridges, and swinging beams.www.broadwayatthebeach.com
  • The “ASA Action Sports World Tour” stops at Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Va. The extreme sports show entertains guests as riders skillfully slide parts of the bike along rails, ledges, or ramps and perform aerial and freestyle tricks. During the last three weekends in May, “Ramp Jam” will feature top skateboard, BMX, and in-line skating athletes executing extreme stunts and tricks on a half pipe built just for the tour.www.buschgardens.com
  • Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., unveils “Adventure Mountain.” The new attraction is America’s largest course with several different adventure experiences: “Geyser Gulch,” “Black Bear Cliff, and “Rocky Top Trail. Families explore each course containing more than 140 challenge elements, including swinging beams, suspension bridges, and a tire traverse. At the base of the mountain is “Camp Teachittoome,” which offers big experiences for little adventurers. www.dollywood.com
    • Images are available for download here.
  • Gatorland in Orlando, Fla., opens “Eco Zip Line,” the world’s first zip line to take riders above alligators and crocodiles. The 45-minute journey will take guests on a nature walk through the swamp, four exhilarating zip lines, and a swing bridge. The zip lines will take riders above 50 giant alligators and a collection of jumping Cuban crocodiles at speeds near 30 miles per hour and heights of up to 56 feet. www.gatorland.com

  • Six Flags America outside Washington, D.C., opens a new family entertainment areaThomas Town, based on the popular children’s series “Thomas & Friends.” It features eight new rides and attractions, including “Harold the Helicopter,” which allows kids to control how high their helicopters fly, or “Cracky the Crane Tower Ride,” a 30-foot drop tower. Also, kids of all ages can test their music skills at “Dick Clark’s Face the Music, an all-new interactive game show and challenge themselves on the new 40-foot-high Rock Wall or the new“Quarterback Challenge.” www.sixflags.com/america
    • B-roll is available from the park upon request.
    • Images are available for download here.
  • The Wilsonville Family Fun Center & Bullwinkle’s Restaurant, a family entertainment center in Wilsonville, Ore., opens “Sky Trail. The ropes course allows participants to move around multiple obstacles while 12 feet above the ground. www.fun-center.com

Parks and Attractions Offer Fun for the Family

  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay in Tampa Bay, Fla., welcomes families to an all-new Sesame Street-themed playland featuring Elmo, Big Bird, and all their friends. Sesame Street Safari of Fun features rides, shows, and adventures that celebrate the spirit of Africa, including a new “Air Grover” family roller coaster. www.buschgardens.com
  • Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Va., celebrates its 35th Anniversary with a new show and nighttime celebration every family will enjoy. A new live show filled with authentic Irish choreography, storytelling, singing, music, and dancing debuts in the Abbey Stone Theatre. Guests also enjoy the return of the free concert series, featuring artists like Switchfoot, Third Day, and the B-52s. Each night, different areas of the park will celebrate“IllumiNights: A Busch Gardens Encore” in its own way, culminating in a park-wide fireworks display for all to enjoy. www.buschgardens.com
  • Planet Snoopy opens at California’s Great America in Santa Clara, Calif., with Peanuts-themed rides and attractions the whole family can enjoy. Guests can meet Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy, and all their friends throughout Planet Snoopy. www.cagreatamerica.com
  • Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim, Calif., premieres a new outdoor show “World of Color,” featuring water effects, lasers, fire, fog, surround sound, and stunning images. The production floods the senses, taking audiences on a journey into the colorful worlds of animated Disney classics such as “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Lion King,” and “Pocahontas,” along with Disney-Pixar films “Toy Story,” “WALL-E,” and many more.http://disneyland.disney.go.com
  • Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., offers “Captain EO. The classic musical spectacular returns to the park for a limited time, allowing new audiences the opportunity to experience the original 3-D production and a rare performance by Michael Jackson.www.disneylandnews.com
  • Visitors to Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, can experience the new family-friendly ride “Boo Blasters on Boo Hill. The ride is an animated adventure taking guests through graveyards, creepy corridors, and dungeons. Riders can use their “Boo Blasters” to zap Boocifer and a variety of other ghosts. Guests can also enhance the ride experience with 3-D glasses. The new Planet Snoopy area of the park features a collection of Peanuts-themed rides and attractions for every age, including four kids’ roller coasters and live stage show “Charlie Brown’s Hoedown. Guests can also meet Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, and the world’s most famous beagle, Snoopy. www.visitkingsisland.com
    • Images are available for download here.
  • To celebrate the park’s 85th birthday Lake Winnepesaukah Amusement Park in Rossville, Ga., adds two new family rides. Riders will spin around on the new “Silly Saucers” teacup ride, while “Sea Warrior!” turns adults and teens in a circle while the individual tub also rotates.  www.lakewinnie.com

  • Patriot Place a family entertainment center in Foxborough, Mass., opens two fully immersive interactive adventure experiences, “Espionage” and “20,000 Leagues, at the 1.3-million-square-foot shopping, dining, and entertainment destination. Guests become secret agents or deep sea explorers during the hour-long, interactive walk-through. The adventures transport guests into different worlds where they must work in groups to complete a series of puzzles, riddles, and tasks. Each decision made by the group affects the storyline and outcome, making the experience different with each visit. www.patriot-place.com
  • Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, Conn., opens “Free Fall ‘N, a family-friendly drop-tower ride. With a circular seating arrangement, the ride lifts 12 riders to the top of the 11-foot-tall tower before releasing the ring of seats in a series of thrilling drops.www.quassy.com
    • Image available for download here.
  • Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, Calif., unveils a new dark ride, 12 summer beach concerts, and a six-week acrobatic show, “Circo Brazil.”  The new Haunted Castle ride occupies nearly 10,000 square feet of space. Riders will load from the boardwalk and spiral down into the basement gliding backward through dimly lit rooms filled with spooky special effects. The 2010 concert series includes Eddie Money, the Spin Doctors, Starship, and A Flock of Seagulls. www.beachboardwalk.com
    • Video footage is available from the attraction upon request.
  • SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, adds a new show, "Azul: Lure of the Sea.The show takes place at the park’s 3,000-seat Beluga Stadium and includes colorful costumes and interesting scenery, original music, enhanced sound and lighting, and a cast of 22 high divers, synchronized swimmers, aerialists, bungee artists, and animal trainers, along with Pacific white-sided dolphins and graceful beluga whales. Brightly colored macaws and sun conures join the performance. www.seaworld.com/sanantonio

  • At SeaWorld San Diego in San Diego, Calif., the Dolphin Stadium transforms for the new“Blue Horizons” show complete with diving boards and bungee swings for the aerialists and divers, a new sound system, high-tech water fountains, and an additional 700 seats for guests. The show unites sea and sky and features energetic bottlenose dolphins, a colorful array of exotic birds, and acrobatic performers. www.seaworld.com/sandiego
  • Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pa., celebrates its 30th birthday with “Elmo Rocks!” Families can dance and sing along with the cast of characters, including Zoe, Cookie Monster, Bert, and Ernie in this energetic show. www.sesameplace.com/sesame2
  • “Take Time to Celebrate” is the theme this year at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo., as it kicks off its 50th year with a new ride, special birthday events, top names in entertainment, and new shows for each of its six festivals. Guests enjoy battling each other with water soakers, raft-to-raft and raft-to-shore on “Tom & Huck’s RiverBlast. “Fiery Fiddles”features a soaring string aerialist, plus the return of the Zhejiang Balancing Monksof China, and new dance troupes from Mexico and Trinidad. Other birthday events include concerts with the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, fireworks, and the official debut of the new “Great American Country Nights” evening show. www.silverdollarcity.com
    • Rendering is available for download here. 
  • Six Flags Great America near Chicago, Ill., opens The Little Dipper,a vintage wooden coaster from Kiddieland Amusement Park. Also, friends and family alike can play“MagiQuest, a live-action interactive game in which players complete a series of fun and challenging quests to defeat a dragon and save a princess. The new “Glow in the Park Parade” features state-of-the-art floats, intricate light design, and Cirque-style music.www.sixflags.com/greatAmerica

  • Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., unveils a new street show at the Magic Kingdom and new culinary experiences at Epcot. “Summer Nightastic!” showcases the Disney magic in a variety of new ways, including new floats with characters such as Tinker Bell, Pinocchio, and Snow White in “Main Street Electrical Parade. Two new restaurants at the Italy pavilion and Mexico pavilion will open in the World Showcase at Epcot. www.disney.com
  • Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Mo., comes alive with the addition of “Snoopy’s Hot Summer Lights, an immersive light and sound experience featuring more than 2 million LED lights and starring everyone’s favorite Peanuts characters. Along the lighted walkway, guests will see larger-than-life replicas of Snoopy and the gang. www.worldsoffun.com
    • Images are available for download here.
  • Many of the nation’s top aquariums, museums, science centers, and zoos are also introducing new educational attractions and experiences this year:
  • The new exhibit at the Baton Rouge Zoo in Baton Rouge, La., “Realm of the Tiger,welcomes guests to the continent of Asia and features three Malayan tigers, a white Bengal tiger, Siamang gibbons, a walk-through aviary, plus a Koi pond and rock garden. The animals in “Realm of the Tiger” originate from Asia and visitors will wind through more than 2.5 acres of Southeast-Asian-inspired architecture and landscaping. www.brzoo.org/home
  • Guests will experience the new “Geometry Playground” at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, Calif. They can climb inside giant 3-D shapes or watch themselves try to play hopscotch in a big curved mirror. There are more than 20 exhibits and specially commissioned artworks in this new traveling attraction open from June 25-Sept. 6, 2010.www.exploratorium.edu
    • Images are available from the park upon request.
  • The new “Fantasea” show at John G. Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, Ill., takes guests on a journey through the eyes of a young girl making connections to animals and her natural world. It brings together beluga whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, penguins, sea lions, and birds of prey. www.sheddaquarium.org
    • Image available for download here.
  • The Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, Minn., launches its “Year of the Farm” celebration in honor of the 10th anniversary of the Wells Fargo Family Farm. “Farm Babies” features the newest members of the zoo family, including baby chicks, piglets, lambs, calves, goat kids, bunnies, and ducklings. Guests can enjoy hands-on interaction with these baby animals.www.mnzoo.org
    • Images are available for download here.
  • Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach, in Myrtle Beach, S.C., opens “Lethal Weapons. The exhibit gives guests an opportunity to discover some of the most lethal animals on earth. Live animals, videos, and interactive experiences offer guests a view of the constant struggle between the peaceful population of the sea and the lethal animals who share the same waters. http://myrtlebeach.ripleyaquariums.com

  • Four new animal habitats at San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park in San Diego, Calif., offer guests sightings of feathered and furry animals from the “Journey into Africa” tour. Guests can see the baby elephant born earlier this year to a herd of elephants brought to the Wild Animal Park in 2003 to keep them from being culled in Swaziland due to overpopulation.www.sandiegozoo.org
    • B-roll is available from the park upon request.
    • Images are available for download here.
  • SEA LIFE in Carlsbad, Calif., features a series of three new shows focusing on sharks. The“Daily Dive Show” is a fun, interactive, and educational underwater show in which guests help a diver uncover the secrets of the Lost City of Atlantis. Guests make up the live studio audience during “Shark Talk, an interactive puppet show with a hammerhead shark who tries to understand the mysterious lives of humans. “The Shark and Ray Show” features an adventurous educator interacting with guests and intriguing creatures, including Port Jackson sharks, epaulette sharks, brownbanded bamboo sharks, and white spotted bamboo sharks.www.sealifeus.com

  • The St. Louis Zoo in St. Louis, Mo., celebrates its centennial with a “Zootennial” exhibit developed in partnership with the Missouri History Museum. The exhibit is housed in the newly renovated Peabody Hall and will feature archived video presentations, old photos, artifacts, and interactive elements. The exhibit will highlight how the zoo has changed while its mission has not. www.stlzoo.org

  • The Titanic Museum Attraction sets sail in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Guests are given a boarding pass upon entry and discover a passenger’s story as they view artifacts and photos specific to that person. After navigating through the two-hour self-guided tour guests reach the memorial room and learn the fate of their ticketed passenger. The attraction also includes a replica of the Grand Staircase and survivor stories. www.titanicpigeonforge.com

IAAPA, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, 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 attractions industry. IAAPA represents more than 4,000 attraction, supplier, and individual members from more than 90 countries. Visit IAAPA online at www.IAAPA.org.

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Editors Notes: Every effort was made to ensure the information included in this release was accurate at the time of publication. For the most up-to-date information, visit the attraction’s web site listed with each entry.

Images are available for download here.

The information above is available by region: NortheastSouthMidwest, and West.

* The 2006 Economic Impact of the Attractions Industry Report prepared by the U.S. Travel Association and IAAPA states the attractions industry contributes $57.3 billion to the U.S. economy. This figure includes secondary expenses, such as hotels, restaurants, airfare, rental cars, gasoline etc.

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