Shermans Travel » Blog » Archive
Tag Results: Theme Parks
While I’m not a huge fan of theme parks – Mother Nature offers far more exciting opportunities for adventure than anything man-made, in my book – I’m a sucker for a great roller coaster. And, though 2013 is still a ways off, theme park giant Six Flags recently unveiled a lineup of seriously scary new and revamped coasters and thrill rides, several of which will claim to be the biggest, tallest, and fastest of their kinds in the world.
Topping the list of adrenaline-pumpers: the aptly named Full Throttle at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Southern California, which will boast the world’s tallest loop at a whopping 160 feet and speeds of up to 70 mph. Also in the lineup are the world’s tallest swing ride, reaching 400 feet in the theme park chain’s Arlington, Texas location, and an enclosed five-story drop on a new water slide at Six Flags White Water, in Georgia. Six Flags also is making headlines with the recent announcement that its Great Adventure park in New Jersey will become the world’s largest theme park in 2013, when it will unveil the combination of its animal safari and its amusement park as a single 510-acre attraction, besting Disney’s Animal Kingdom by 10 acres.
Here are some highlights of the new offerings from across the United States. And a few words of advice: You might want to have lunch after enjoying these rides! Read more
As the kids start counting down the days to summer vacation, America’s theme parks are counting down to the newest, biggest, most scream-worthy rides and attractions (so far, anyway). Here, a handy primer on where you’ll be taking the family this year.
The biggest news, of course, is the opening of Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure. This 12-acre attraction based on the Disney-Pixar Cars movies incorporates three new rides – including the thrilling coaster Radiator Springs Racers (pictured) – a trio of restaurants, and other themed shopping and entertainment venues. Watch out for Lightning McQueen, Mater, and other Cars favorites starting June 15.
With the final movie installment released, Harry Potter fans seeking to hold on to the magic for a while longer will be pleased to know that the magic isn’t going anywhere. Universal Studios and Warner Bros. have just announced that their popular “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” park attraction in Orlando is also coming to Hollywood. The park will likely not open for a few years yet, and ride and feature details have yet to be released. Worry not, though, because Warner Bros. has more good news – starting March 31, 2012, you can participate in the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London and see the sets, costumes, and props from the Harry Potter movies.
For more than ten years the Warner Bros. Studio Leavesden was home to the Harry Potter films, and the tour has a lot to show for it. You can enter the Great Hall, wander Dumbledore’s office, check out Harry’s Nimbus 2000, learn about the green screen effects used in the films, and see other sets and props. Tickets are already on sale (adult tickets are $44, children ages 5 to 15 get in for $33, and children under 5 are free), so if you’ll be in London and want to get your Potter on, be sure to make your reservation. www.wbstudiotour.co.uk
No matter how cold it gets in Minnesota, it’s always 72 degrees in the Mall of America. The Bloomington behemoth maintains its internal temperature not with a heating system, but with solar energy flowing through its eight acres of skylights, the light from its more than 520 stores and 50 restaurants, and the body heat radiating from the 40 million people who visit those stores and restaurants every year.
Iron-fisted shopping amid many heated bodies may not be a draw for all families, but seen through a different lens, Mall of America (MOA) may pack appeal as an off-the-beaten-path theme park destination. MOA’s centerpiece, Nickelodeon Universe, is the biggest indoor amusement park in the United States. As a bonus, the mall is only about 10 miles south of the best city you’re not visiting, Minneapolis.
When people find out I’m a travel writer they typically say that they know where they’re going from now on for travel information, but the truth is, said people seldom learn more from me than I do from them.
That was the case a couple weeks ago after learning from a mom at my kids’ school that she had just arranged to take her husband and two young sons to Paris over the winter break. Amid the yelling of hundreds of winter-weary, cabin-feverish kids in the school cafeteria I extracted the mom’s lodging strategy, which I thought made a great deal of sense – so much so that I also solicited complementary tips from Trip Chicks co-owner Ann Lombardi (www.twitter.com/thetripchicks), whose advice you’ll find herein and in Paris with Kids, Part 1.
If you’re considering a Walt Disney World family vacation during peak season – loosely defined as the school break-riddled span of February through April – this is the week to stop thinking and start booking.
Your first decision is the one parents often fret over the most. Do you stay within the Walt Disney World resort itself – or somewhere off property in that vast wilderness that goes by the name of Orlando?
If you’ve got kids under five, it’s hard to beat the convenience of on-property hotels that provide easy monorail access to the Magic Kingdom, especially if your young Disney fan is having a meltdown.
Staying within the Disney resort also means that on certain days your hotel may let your brood linger in one of the four parks after closing or, more valuable for parents of younger kids, you’ll get access to that park a precious hour early. However, if your children are older and, not incidentally, if you’re traveling with a party of five or more and can’t escape the expense of booking at least two hotel rooms, your best lodging solution may be a vacation rental. Read more
Over the years our nation’s amusement and theme parks have made select rides and attractions wheelchair accessible, Braille equipped, or otherwise friendly toward travelers with disabilities. But that wasn’t enough for former real estate developer Gordon Hartman who envisioned a different kind of park for the millions of kids and adults with special needs, among them his teenage daughter Morgan.
So Hartman helped raise $32 million to break ground last spring at the former site of the Longhorn Quarry in San Antonio. The result is the 25-acre Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s first “ultra-accessible family fun park” specifically designed for individuals with special needs. The park has its grand opening on April 10th but has been quietly admitting visitors since March 3rd. Read more
Sign up for the Top 25 Newsletter
to get exclusive weekly deals