EntertainmentTheme Parks

Summer 2015: The Battle of the Theme Parks

The summer of 2015 is about to start and the local Southern California theme parks are ready to bring to you the latest in thrills, food, merchandise and most importantly fun. Two theme park are celebrate huge milestones with Universal Studios Hollywood celebrating their 50th Anniversary and Disneyland celebrating 60 years. Though the biggest questions what do they have to offer this year. Well Kathleen Picazo will take you through each park and the great things to see at you local amusement park.

1. Springfield, Fast & Furious Supercharged and Nighttime Studio Tour at Universal Studios

Universal Studios Hollywood will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of the world-famous Studio Tour this summer. Along with the celebration they will be opening their new attraction, Fast & Furious – Supercharged June 25. Guests will be able to ride alongside cast stars in a high-speed chase exceeding 120 mph. Jump into the underworld of fast cars and experience the powerful scenes that came out of your favorite film series of Fast & Furious.

Duff Deer mascots adorn the outside of the Duff Beer Garden.
Duff Deer mascots adorn the outside of the Duff Beer Garden.

This summer, guests will also be able to enjoy the new addition of downtown Springfield, hometown of the Simpsons. From destroying Krusty Land in the Simpsons ride to having a meal at Krusty Burger or a beer at Moe’s Tavern. After a long day of excitement, indulge in the new Nighttime Studio Tour on select evenings. For the first time, the tour will take guests into the works of nighttime filmmaking in the backlot using special effects and theatrical lighting.

This week Universal Studios unveiled The Wizarding World of Harry Potter merchandise store to pass members and employees. In this private even members and employees were able to purchase their favorite Harry Potter collectibles and souvenirs exclusive to Universal. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is set to open in 2016. For the first time, Universal Studios guests will experience surreal scenes taken from Harry Potter books and films.

After the private event for pass members, Universal Studios opened the store to the public. Marlon, team leader at Universal Studios, said that they have not had as much traffic as they expected since the unveiling but expects it to get a lot busier once it is open to public. It was expected to be open to public after the private event that was schedule to end by 12:30 p.m. It is exciting to have something new and different from what is already there, Marlon said.

Pass members were able to get their hands on collectible wands from a variety of characters such as Hermione Granger, Ron Weasley, Ginny Weasley, Neville Longbottom and of course Harry Potter. Walls were decorated with robes, mugs and scarfs from each house including Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. Aside from the Quidditch gear and sorting hat, guests were also purchasing goodies such as chocolate frogs, peppermint toads and jelly slugs. Everyone walked out of the store feeling like a wizard.

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2. “Voyage to the Iron Reef” at Knott’s Berry Farm

Voyage to the Iron Reef Concept ArtKnott’s Berry Farm is also among the theme parks that have or will have new attractions to look forward to this summer. “Voyage to the Iron Reef,” a 4-D interactive ride, opened up earlier this month. Like a video game, this ride enables guests to take a freeze ray and fight the mysterious creatures lurking in the waters through real-time rendering. Unlike the pre-rendering in other famous rides like “Star Tours” and “Transformers,” “Voyage to the Iron Reef” builds excitement through its unexpected high definition 3-D ocean current tunnels and underwater forests.

Families will get to enjoy this four-person submarine ride as they try to save Knott’s from menacing creatures like the ballooning puffer fish and iron clad octopus. Since the expansion of the boardwalk in 2013, Knott’s has unfolded new attractions such as Coast Rider and Surfside Gliders. However, this new adventure brings guests a new look into the future of theme park attractions.

The technology and special effects brought live to this four-minute gaming adventure that takes you through 600-feet of track and 11 spectacular scenes. Despite the lower quality of real-time rendering versus pre-rendering, it is makes the ride much more interactive for guests. If you get a chance to ride this new attraction at Knott’s share your experience and your score using hashtag #KnottsIronReef on the Knott’s Twitter, Facebook or Instagram page.

3. Twisted Colossus at Six Flag Magic Mountain

Twisted Colossus
Twisted Colossus at Magic Mountain. Photo by Michael Sandoval/M.U.S.E.

Six Flags Magic Mountain coming in this summer with the newly renovated Twisted Colossus, a recreation of Colossus. The original roller coaster, Collosus opened in 1978 as the tallest wood roller coaster and was closed in August 2014. This thrilling new attraction emerged as a steel and wood hybrid roller coaster and is set to debut May 23; just in time for summer.

The ride will demonstrate the innovations that Six Flags continues to strive for through its staggering 116-foot drop and featured “Top Gun” element where the train slows down upside down. Other features of this ride includes the  “High Five” element where two trains meet each other at an overbanked turn with the illusion that riders could reach out and “high five” each other. The 5,000-feet of track lasts four-minutes with 360-degree twists, 18 airtime hills and two lift hills.

The wooden structure and embedded steel allow riders to experience something never before experienced in wooden coasters such as inversions and over-banked turns. Riders must be at least 48″ tall, but it will become the new excitement at Six Flags setting the record for longest hybrid coaster in the world.

4. Disneyland 60th Anniversary

This Friday, Disneyland will revamp some of its nighttime spectaculars to commemorate 60 years of Disney magic. Another place where innovation takes place as they continue to bring magic to the thousands of people walking into Walt Disney’s dreams. Disneyland Forever will bring guests a dazzling show filled with visual-effects that will take your breath away. Taking you into the worlds of Peter Pan, Nemo, Simba and Frozen’s Olaf, Elsa and Anna. This amazing adventure will take on Main Street, U.S.A.,Matterhorn mountain, Rivers of American and “It’s a small world” as its stage.

Disney’s Paint the Night Parade will also be debuting in this celebration offering the biggest and brightest 30-minute spectacular. Mickey and his friend Tinker Bell’s pixie dust will light up the night with their glowing colors. More than one million glowing lights will be taking over Main street, U.S.A.

Lastly, the famous and most astounding show of the night, Word of Color will take over the waters at Disney California Adventure. In honor of Disney’s 60th anniversary, World of Color will be joined by Neil Patrick Harris and Mickey taking guests into the 60 years of Disney history. This 28-minute long show features projected films onto the water screen at paradise bay. The 19,000 square-foot water screen was created by 1,200 fountains shooting water 200 feet into the air. The 60 years of history will be celebrated through sound and image from past to present.

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