SUMMER SPLASH II : ‘90s Theme Parks: A Ride on the Wild Side

What’s doing at Southern California’s major amusement parks this summer?

Two of the most daring roller coasters ever, for one thing. Plus the usual host of special acts, parades and theme nights to lure visitors. And while there may be a drought, the water parks invite you to take a splash.

Disneyland opens its 35th anniversary summer season with the Dick Tracy stage show, a new, live presentation of the comic strip hero facing some of his most notorious arch-villians.

This summer’s edition of the daily parades is called “Party Gras,” and is billed as the largest in the park’s history. It features six towering balloons in the shape of Disney characters and a cast of singers and dancers who encourage guests to join in the dancing in the streets. Also slated for the summer celebration are a “35th Anniversary Follies” show featuring Mickey Mouse and the gang and an after-dark, best of the Big Band, concert series.


The park is open daily from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. beginning June 23. Admission is $25.50 for adults and seniors and $20.50 for children 3 to 11. Information (714) 999-4565.

Knott’s Berry Farm’s new attractions include an expanded Roaring ‘20s area and the high-speed, high-energy Boomerang roller coaster that takes riders upside down, forward and backward.

The park is open from 10 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturdays, beginning Memorial Day. Admission is $21 for adults, $17 for children 3 to 11 and $15 for seniors over 60, expectant mothers and handicapped visitors. Children under age 3 are admitted free.

Information (714) 220-5200

Monsoon Lagoon, a water-slide park located in Redondo Beach, is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning June 16. Admission is $9.50 for guests over 48 inches, $7.50 for guests 36 to 48 inches and $4.50 for non-sliders. Guests under 36 inches are admitted free. Information (213) 643-6130.

Palm Springs’ Oasis Water Resort is well into its summer schedule, open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is $14.50 for adults, $9.95 for children age 4 to 11 and seniors 55 and over. Children under age 4 are admitted free. A special two-for-one twilight rate of $14.50 is also available after 4 p.m. There is a $2 parking fee and surfboards, bodyboards and life vests are available at the park. Information (619) 325-7873.

The Queen Mary and Spruce Goose Entertainment Center’s summer tour features “Voyage to 1939" with live shows, a 1939 auto show and the old-fashioned Brighton Carnival.

This summer’s hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. beginning June 15. Admission is $17.50 for adults, $9.50 for children 5 to 11 and $14 for seniors over 55. A special entrance fee of $13 for seniors and $7 for children 5 to 11 will be available through the month of June. Children under age 5 are admitted free. Information (213) 435-3511.


Raging Waters unveils the Black Hole thrill ride, a twin 450-foot slide that drops guests 52 feet through more than 350 feet of inky darkness while catapulting them at speeds upwards of 25 m.p.h. Raging Waters is open daily for its summer season from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. beginning June 30. The park will also be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 2 and 3. Admission is $14.95 for adults, $8.50 for children 42 to 48 inches and $8.50 for seniors age 55 and over. Information (714) 592-6453.

San Diego Wild Animal Park features the Royal Lippizaner Stallion Show, a dressage exhibition of 14 of the rare white stallions ridden by a mix of European trained and local riders. The wild animal park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 a.m to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays only beginning June 29. Admission is $14.50 for adults, $7.50 for children ages 3 to 15 and $12.50 for seniors over age 55. In addition, there is a annual pass for seniors over age 60 priced at $11 per person. Children under age 3 are admitted free. Information (619) 234-6541.

Sea World of California’s new attractions include: “Splish Splash,” performed by members of the U.S. Synchronized Swimming Team to a selection of ‘50s and ‘60s music; “Salute to the Olympic Spirit,” a high-dive show at the park’s lagoon; “Dr. Lovecraft’s Magic Medicine Show,” in the Nautilus Amphitheater, and “The Colonel Sullivan Radio Show,” a menagerie of BMX bicyclists, acrobats, skateboarders, singers, dancers and trained birds.

“Forbidden Reef,” a 3,200-square-foot exhibit with 200 feet of public interactive space, is the park’s new marine life exhibit that incorporates two displays, Bat Ray Shallows and Moray Eel Caverns.


Located on San Diego’s Mission Bay, the park is open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. beginning June 16. Admission is $21.95 for adults, $15.95 for children 3 to 11 and $16.80 for seniors over 65. Children under age 3 are admitted free. Information (619) 226-3901.

Six Flags Magic Mountain features the 70-m.p.h. Viper, the world’s largest looping roller coaster, complete with an 18-story drop, three vertical loops, a double-barrel boomerang and a classic corkscrew. The park celebrates Bugs Bunny’s 50th Birthday with the live musical revue “Happy Birthday, Bugs,” a heart-warming show that includes the wise-cracking rabbit’s most unforgettable motion picture and television moments. Also included in the celebration are “Bugs Bunny Magic World of Kids,” a magic show starring that wacky wabbit and selected children from the audience, and a fireworks extravaganza “Bugs Bunny Salutes Strictly USA.” Magic Mountain is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to midnight Saturdays and Sundays beginning June 22. Admission is $23 for adults, $11 for seniors and children under 48 inches in height. Children under age 2 are admitted free. Information (805) 255-4111 or (805) 255-4100 and (818) 367-5965 or (818) 992-0884.

Universal Studios Hollywood adds three new attractions for the summer.

On the “Back to the Future Special Effects Stage,” selected members of the audience will recreate scenes of the futuristic Hill Valley freeway and the climactic, electrifying courthouse clock tower scenes.


Children can participate in the play world of “An American Tail,” a depiction of the 1885 New York dockside fantasy world of Tin Can Alley America.

Number three is “The Riot Act,” a live stunt show that highlights some of the most dangerous and memorable screen feats, including a “plank high fall,” where a stuntman falls into pine planks, a method used before the advent of foam pads.

Universal Studios Hollywood is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning June 30. Admission beginning May 26 will be $22 for adults, $16.50 for seniors 60 and older and children age 3 to 11. Children under age 3 are admitted free. Information (818) 777-1000.

Wild Rivers Waterpark’s new attractions for the 1990 season are the high-speed, double-drop slide “Wahtubee,” a cooling stroll through the geysers of “WaterWalk” and the “Pepsi Puddle Jumpers,” self-powered bumper boats for sailors weighing less than 90 pounds. The park will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 9 to 15 and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. beginning June 16. Admission is $14.95 for 10 year olds and older, $10.95 for children 3 to 9 and $6.95 for seniors 55 and older. Spectators and guests admitted for $6.95 after 4 p.m. Information (714) 768-6014 or (714) 768-WILD.