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FAMILY TRAVEL: Amusement Parks

By Jackie Burrell
Sunday, June 1st, 2008 at 6:30 am in Family Travel.

Six Flags Medusa Rollercoaster (MCT photo)We’ve been browsing the Times’ round-up of new theme park offerings and chatting up Emily Kaufman, SoCal’s Travel Mom and family travel expert. And it sounds like every amusement park is unveiling something new and spectacular for summer.

Ride an old fave – Giant Dipper on the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, anyone? – or try these new thrills on for size:

California’s Great America is launching “Firefall,” a 60-ft. thriller with zips, spins, and fire and water effects.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom – Tony Hawk’s Big Spin sends riders careening down a 1,300-ft. long track in roller coaster cars that resemble Hawk’s skateboards.

Universal Studios – A Simpsons simulator takes riders through a Krusty the Clown-style theme park. And for the small fry, a new 30,000 sq. ft. Curious George play zone.

Knott’s Berry Farm‘s newest roller coaster is the Pony Express. Riders sit astride mechanical horses that buck and glide down the track at speeds of up to nearly 40 mph.

Sea World and Sesame Street have created a series of new “Bay of Play” rides, activities and a 4-D movie for the Elmo-loving set.

Disneyland/California Adventure – The big news here is “Toy Story Mania,” which opens June 17 with a ride that includes a video-game element. We’re hoping the whole thing’s fab — the ride, the park, the whole experience — because our last jaunt to the Mouse Kingdom was most un-Disney like. Just bizarre. (Did we hit a really bad day or are other people experiencing Disney weirdness too?)

Click “comments” and share your favorite theme park adventures and discoveries here.

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