ORLANDO, Fla. - Massive swings at Cedar Point, Kings Island, Dollywood and a Six Flags in California, plus Green Lantern-themed coasters at Six Flags and a Little Mermaid attraction at Disneyland, are among the new attractions awaiting visitors this season at theme parks around the country.
Cedar Point and Kings Island in Ohio, and Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif., all are rolling out a thrill ride called Windseeker, which spins riders nearly 30 stories in the air in two-person swings that flare out and rotate around a tower.
An extremely wet April in Ohio delayed work on the ride at Cedar Point, in Sandusky, and Kings Island, in Mason, so they weren't ready when the parks opened earlier in May, but they're expected to be up and running around Memorial Day.
Six Flags parks in Vallejo, Calif., and St. Louis also are debuting monster swings. Their version, called SkyScreamer, towers 236 feet above the ground with two-person swings soaring in a 98-foot circle at 43 mph. The ride will be lighted at night from top to bottom.
"Creativity and innovation, which are really the foundation of the business, are alive and well in our industry, and I think the attractions that are opening illustrate that," said David Mandt, spokesman for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.
Roller-coaster enthusiasts will also be able to get their fix on new rides at the Six Flags parks.
Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J., and Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Calif., are launching Green Lantern, a 15-story stand-up coaster that begins with a 45-mph vertical drop before rocketing riders through five inversions, including loops and corkscrews.
Green Lantern is among three new coasters at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Six Flags New England near Springfield, Mass., adds the steel coaster called Gotham City: Gauntlet Escape from Arkham Asylum, while the Dare Devil Dive coaster opens at Six Flags Over Georgia in Austell, featuring a 10-story vertical drop. Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington marks its 50th anniversary by bringing back a faster and steeper Texas Giant coaster.
In early June, Disney California Adventure in Anaheim debuts The Little Mermaid - Ariel's Undersea Adventure as part of a multiyear billion-dollar expansion of the park. The family-friendly ride features characters from the popular movie as riders travel on a virtual underwater journey.