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Family-vacation-4 By Samantha Chapnick

If your family travel plans this summer include a trip to an amusement park, here are my picks for top new rides:


Busch Gardens in Williamsburg has launched one of the newest attractions for kids. Combining the popular Sesame Street brand with family-friendly zeitgeist, Sesame Street Forest of Fun is a 65,000-square-feet area dedicated to the mind and body of the younger set. Features include:

  • Prince Elmo’s Spire, a reasonable roller coaster
  • Bert and Ernie’s Loch Adventure: a family flume ride
  • Oscar’s Yucky Forest: a playground
  • and the typical food and toy shops.


Wooden? Yes. The Cyclone? No.

Tame is not a descriptor for the newly opened Terminator Salvation coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Los Angeles. Designed to play well with the film, the ride is infused with the Terminator “post-apocalyptic” theme. A dedicated pre-flight clip gets riders in the mood. Synchronized on-board audio, fire and fog, and two enclosed tunnels keep the thrills high, assuming the 2,850 feet of track with 5 big drops doesn’t do it for you. Here’s a video:



Sea World Orlando visitors can get into a different kind of fever this summer. Schools of 300 manta rays (called “fevers”) greet them in the 250,000 gallon aquariums before they fly around doing four inversions, two inline spins and a pretzel loop on the new roller coaster experience, Manta. See for yourself:


Harkening back to the days when unitards were bathing suits and mustaches were bigger than hot dogs, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is getting a new old ride this summer. Part carousel, part swing ride, guests on the new Sea Swings twirl 40+ feet above the beach — alternating views of the Monterey Bay and boardwalk. Looking at the ride itself is none too shabby. An old master carousel firm in Italy hand painted it with depictions of scenes from the Boardwalk’s 100+ year history.


Unless you actually live in Santa Clause, Indiana, Holiday World is not going to ring any amusement park bells. For water ride fans, that’s about to change. They’ve just opened Pilgrim’s Plunge, the world’s tallest water ride. It includes a quick open-air elevator ride up 131 feet (that’s 10 stories for the city folk), followed by a 45-degree drop and a big splash. Just looking at it made me glad our elevator inspection certificate is up to date. Perhaps even rarer in the amusement park world, they provide free parking, free soft drinks, free sunscreen, and free inner tubes. See it in action:

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Samantha Chapnick is a New York writer who scours international destinations looking for what hasn’t been found.

Tagged: California, Family time

Note: Orbitz compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site.

One thought on “Family travel: top new amusement park rides”

  1. Great! So many kinds of amusement park rides you list! I see there is more amusement park rides in the amusement parks and theme parks. I think you can list more categories here to let more people know about the rides.

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