Theme Park Central

A site for theme park junkies everywhere.

Best Theme Park Attraction of 2011-Details and Battle 1

Welcome to the Best Theme Park Attraction of 2011! The newest tournament at Theme Park Central! The tournament works like any other single elimination tournament. There are 32 themed attractions (no plain roller coasters) that face off in pairs. You vote on your favorites. The winner moves on, while the loser is eliminated. Each poll lasts 5 days. Here is the bracket:

#20 Kiliminjaro Safaris vs. #28 It’s a Small World

#8 Indiana Jones Adventure vs. #1 Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

#15 Space Mountain vs. #7 Jaws

#29 Finding Nemo: Submarine Voyage vs. #12 Splash Mountain

#10 Jurassic Park River Adventure vs. #21 Expedition Everest

#32  Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride vs. #26 Peter Pan’s Flight

#18 Soarin’ Over California vs. #22 Star Tours

#5 Men in Black: Alien Attack vs. #30 Test Track

#9 The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man vs. #19 Rock ‘N Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith

#25 Jungle Cruise vs. #11 E.T. Adventure

#2 Pirates of the Carribean vs. #14 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror

#13 Haunted Mansion vs. #16 Dinosaur

#23 The Great Movie Ride vs. #6 The Simpsons Ride

#3 Revenge of the Mummy vs. #24 Escape from Pompeii

#27 Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin vs. #31 Mission SPACE

#4 Toy Story Mania vs. #17 Curse of DarKastle

And now, Battle 1:

VS.

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Review

On February 18th, 2011, I took a trip down to Orlando to visit what seems to be the most talked about theme park-subject, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

ATTRACTIONS

There are 3 attractions at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. One is Flight of the Hippogriff, a mini roller coaster that is themed around one of Hagrid’s magical creatures from Prisoner of Azkaban. It’s not large, so roller coaster haters (like me) don’t have to worry.

The second is Dragon Challenge. Based on the first task from Goblet of Fire, this is the same dueling coasters with a new theme and name. It’s a big, fast, terrifying roller coaster, designed for adrenaline junkies.

The final attraction is Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, located inside Hogwarts. This is the ride that everyone is talking about. the ride mixes live sets, Animatronics, and video screens, all while using Kuka Arm technology. I experienced it first hand, and when I say it’s the best theme park ride ever, I’m not exaggerating AT ALL! It’s very smooth (only one part has you on your back, and it’s not even that bad), so roller coaster haters won’t find it making them queasy.

Overall, the attractions at WWoHP are very good, HPFJ adds extra appeal to Islands of Adventure.

SHOPS

What WWoHP doesn’t have in attractions, it has in shops. Hogsmeade, the small village from the books, is replicated in WWoHP, and has plenty of shops for Harry Potter fanatics like me.

First off, you have Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods. Located at the exit of HPFJ, the shop has plenty of HP merchandise. T-shirts, trading pins, mugs, stuffed animals, and more memorabilia can be bought here. I bought a Hogwarts T-shirt and Hogwarts crest pin while I was there.

Next up is Dervish and Banges. All your favorite Harry Potter merchandise can be bought here, including Sneakoscopes, Golden Snitches, Hogwarts House journals, and even deluxe brooms.

Honeydukes features all the wacky and wild candy from Harry Potter. Here, you can buy Chocolate Frogs, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans, Fudge Flies, and Chocolate Cauldrons.

At the Owl Post, you can buy your wands, after Ollivanders if you go to that show. You can also send out postcards to your jealous friends, with a Hogwarts stamp. You can also get mugs and stuffed animal owls.

Lastly is Zonko’s Joke Shop. At Zonko’s, you can get all sorts of gags and pranks. Some of these include Screaming Yo-Yos, Fanged Flyers, Chattering Teeth, Extendable Ears (from Order of the Phoenix) and Pygmy Puffs.

RESTAURANTS

There are two dining facilities in WWoHP.

The first is The Hog’s Head Pub. At the Hog’s Head, you can buy all sorts of alcoholic drinks. Of course, most HP fans come for something else- Butterbeer! You can buy regular or frozen Butterbeer, in a cup or collectible mug.

The other is The Three Broomsticks. Here, you can find traditional English meals served, like Fish and Chips, Cornish Pastries, and Shepherd’s Pie. You can also get your Butterbeer here.

OVERALL

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is just plain magical (pun intended). It makes a great park like Islands of Adventure even more freakin awesome than it was without it. A must-do for HP, theme park, or HP theme park fans!

Universal To Replace Jimmy Neutron

On Monday, Universal Orlando announced that they will shut down the Jimmy Neutron-themed simulator ride to make way for a new attraction.

Universal said “Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast” in the Universal Studios Florida theme park will close April 1 so crews can begin work on a replacement attraction. The ride will briefly reopen during the peak spring and summer travel periods, before closing permanently on Aug. 18.

Universal didn’t provide any details about what will replace the Neutron-themed ride, other than to describe it as “an all-new experience based on an amazing concept.” A spokesman for the resort also would not elaborate.

Universal calls its replacement “one of many exciting things planned for the next couple of years” but has not yet elaborated. Rumors point to the film “Despicable Me” becoming the new theme for the attraction. Universal previously featured a popular meet-and-greet with that film’s Minion characters in the park, but has not made any indication that the film will replace Neutron.

Jimmy Neutron’s Nicktoon Blast is a motion simulator attraction that not only features Jimmy Neutron but also the popular characters from Rugrats and Spongebob Squarepants. It replaced The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera in 2003.

Universal Adds “Hop” Chracters To Park

Universal Studios has decided to add characters from the upcoming live action/animated film “Hop” to its theme park lineup.


Through April 5, characters will perform on the French Quarter stage then meet-and-greet theme park guests. The Universal Pictures film, which debuts April 1, stars James Marsden, Kaley Cuoco and Russell Brand as the voice of the Easter Bunny. Also listed among the stars is David Hasselhoff “as himself,” according to the International Movie Database.

Peace Land: Korea’s Newest Theme Park

On one side is the world’s most strategically dangerous frontier, all coiled razor wire, minefields, death strips, and blank-faced North Koreans. On the other side is… a theme park.

The clash of civilizations was never better dramatized than at Peace Land, in Imjingak, on the 38th Parallel. Here, the starving people of the world’s nastiest dictatorship can look across the border at capitalism quite literally putting on a funfair. For the Southerners, of course, the North Koreans are the principal attraction.

Right alongside the Pirate Ship, the Wriggly Worm and all the other fantasy rides run the perfectly real electrified fences and watchtowers of the border. The organizers of the theme park provide special viewing platforms and free telescopes for visitors. A key attraction is a bombed-out steam locomotive, still standing on its original tracks in front of a blown-up railway bridge across the River Imjin marking the frontier.

Peace Land has remained open throughout the latest outbreak of hostilities – but on Sunday, with the peace between the two Koreas at its most fragile since the 1950s, the Sunday crowds were understandably thinner than normal.

A drive along part of the hundred-mile border yesterday revealed significantly heightened levels of tension. Away from the theme park, large buffer zones adjoining the frontier line have been closed, with military roadblocks and checkpoints turning back all but local residents.

For miles south of the frontier, the banks of the Imjin are fenced off, and nets draped beneath bridges, to thwart infiltration by North Korean swimmers or canoeists. The military watchtowers on these fences, normally manned only during the hours of darkness, are now manned continuously.

South Koreans’ fear of the North is underlined by the outlaw state’s sheer proximity to their capital city. Seoul is less than 45 minutes’ drive from the frontier and the Peace Land theme park is accessible via the city’s metro system. Seoul’s 19 million people are within easy range of the same artillery which last week shelled Yeongpyeong island.

Concrete blocks and tank traps are kept by the sides of the road to block any North Korean advance. But South Koreans know that if it ever did come to war and invasion, there is little they could immediately do to stop it.

Dollywood Wins Applause Award


Dolly Parton said Tuesday that winning the 2010 Applause Award for her theme park, Dollywood, is like winning “the Oscar of the business.”

“I’m just honored and proud,” she said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “I’m excited that this is our 25th anniversary for Dollywood, that we won it this year, and that I had a chance to be here.”

Parton accepted the award in person in Orlando at an amusement park trade show, IAAPA Attractions Expo 2010, hosted by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.

The Applause Award has been given out every other year since 1980 to honor a park whose “management, operations and creative accomplishments have inspired the industry with their foresight, originality and sound business development,” according to a statement from Liseberg park in Gothenburg, Sweden. The Applause winner is decided by a board of governors chaired by Mats Wedin, Liseberg’s CEO. The board includes theme park professionals from around the world.

Parton said that although country music “has allowed so many of my dreams to come true, you don’t have to be a country music fan to come to the park. … There’s something for everyone.”

She said she would put the award in a museum at the park “to share it with the fans.”

Dollywood beat out Alton Towers of Great Britain and Phantasialand of Germany for the 2010 award. Previous U.S. winners include Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Nashville’s Opryland in Tennessee, Pennsylvania’s Hershey Park, Universal Studios Florida and Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Virginia.

Parton opened Dollywood in 1986 in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Located next to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Dollywood is Tennessee’s No. 1 ticketed tourist attraction, with 2.5 million visitors in a typical season.

Busch Gardens Raises Full-Price Admission

Busch Gardens bumped up its full-price admission by $3 on Friday, kicking off the annual season of Florida theme park price increases and pushing the Tampa park over the $80 threshold for the first time. Including sales tax, the new daily admission is $83.45 for adults or kids older than 10, $72.75 for children 3 to 9.

“It’s in line with our usual annual price increase, but we also will continue to offer a variety of discounts and introduced a couple new ones,” said Jill Revelle, Busch Gardens spokeswoman.

Florida residents can buy a Fun Card for the price of a single day admission, which will be good for unlimited visits through Dec. 31, 2011, or 14 months for the price of 12. People who currently hold a Fun Card can renew at the 2010 price to extend it for another year. “That’s $8 less than the 2011 pass,” Revelle said. Busch also continued its EZPay plan which lets passholders make monthly payments as low as $9.16.

Busch Gardens continued to price itself slightly below the premium Orlando theme parks including its corporate sibling SeaWorld. SeaWorld also raised it prices Friday to $85.19 including tax, $74.54 for kids 3 to 9. That, however, remains $2 under the full price at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, which last raised their prices in August. SeaWorld attendance has yet to recover from the shadow cast by a Feb. 24 backstage incident in which a 6-ton orca whale from the park’s marquee attraction Believe killed one of its trainers.

With discounts, only about a third of all theme parks’ patrons typically pay full price.

Ferrari World Opens….Finally!

A week after delaying its Grand Opening, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi finally opened to the public today in the United Arab Emirates. Ferrari World is the world’s largest indoor theme park, themed to the Italian sports car make. The park includes the world’s fastest roller coaster, Formula Rossa, an Intamin launch coaster that blasts to a top speed of 149 miles per hour.

The ride, which takes you outside the park and into the surrounding Arabian desert, is so fast that you have to wear goggles while riding, to protect your eyes from the blowing sand and searing heat.

Alongside this mad-I mean, fast roller coaster, it also features advanced driving simulators, as well as driving and scenic simulators. Top attractions include the V12, a flume ride:

The G-Force tower, which catapults visitors to a height of 62 meters:

And the Pit Wall, where participants can make race-day judgment calls.

For die-hard racing fans, Ferrari World also includes the Paddock, which lets you be part of the Ferrari pit crew on a Grand Prix day, and a museum that follows the history of the car brand from its earliest days to its current F1.

For smaller racing fans, the park offers Junior GT, Junior Grand Prix and Junior Training Camp.

New Rides For Busch Gardens and Discovery Cove

Busch Gardens in Tampa and Discovery Cove in Orlando both announced new attractions Wednesday. Cheetah Hunt, a new thrill ride, is scheduled to open at Busch Gardens in spring of 2011. The Grand Reef, an 875,000-gallon artificial lagoon in which guests can swim among tropical fish, is scheduled to open next June at Discovery Cove.

Cheetah Hunt, a “launch coaster,” will use the force of repelling magnets to shoot riders in sudden bursts at up to 60 mph at three different points along the 4,429-foot track, Busch Gardens said in a press release.

Concept art for Cheetah Run


On one section, riders will race along near ground level to give a sense of a cheetah running across the African plains. Cheetah Hunt will be Busch Gardens’ first new thrill ride since Sheikra in 2005. In conjunction with the new ride, Busch Gardens also announced plans for a nearby exhibit, Cheetah Run, that will offer close-up views of live cheetahs through clear plastic windows. Trainers will coax the cheetahs into daily sprinting displays, according to a press release.

The Grand Reef, the forthcoming attraction at Discovery Cove, will simulate the sights of a natural reef, the park said in a press release. The massive tank will have waters of varying depths for snorkelers and swimmers to explore. The artificial reef will be filled with real fish, Discovery Cove said, from colorful wrasses to large, spotted eagle rays. Venomous lionfish and sharp-toothed reef sharks will swim behind glass in the exhibit. The waters will be surrounded by white-sand beaches outfitted with hammocks.

Concept art of the upcoming The Grand Reef

Roller Coaster Cars Collide At Knott’s Berry Farm

Ten people were hurt early Thursday evening when two roller coaster cars collided at a theme park in southern California. The accident happened just after 8 p.m. PDT on the Pony Express ride at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, a city in Orange County. “First units that arrived on scene encountered multiple patients,” said Captain Greg McKeown of the Orange County Fire Authority. McKeown said two cars of the roller coaster hit in the loading area of the roller coaster. McKeown said all ten patients were transported to nearby hospitals with mostly minor neck and back injuries. The Pony Express is a a steel motorbike roller coaster which features sweeping turns and sudden drops in an “out-and-back” configuration. It has two trains with eight cars per train and riders are arranged two across in a single row for a total of 16 riders per train. It was first opened in 2008.

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