Theme Parks Buffing Up

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Brace yourself for the summer at Southern California theme parks, where the mummy returns to Universal Studios and Six Flags will introduce two new harrowing thrill rides. But for real shock value, check out the timely return of Disney’s Electrical Parade: There’s no room for a power shortage in the happiest place on Earth.

This weekend a World War II history tour debuts on board the Queen Mary, while Sea World premieres a new aquatics-themed show. Raging Waters will unveil a new water ride in June, and two new rides are slated for Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier.

Following are more details about what’s new at Southland theme parks. Look for longer summer hours, discounts and a new look for some favorite attractions.


* The Queen Mary kicks off the 65th anniversary of its maiden voyage this weekend, which neatly coincides with the opening of the film “Pearl Harbor.” Some of the scenes for the movie were shot aboard the historic Queen Mary, known as the Grey Ghost when it served as a transport ship during World War II. New and renovated exhibits will be unveiled, along with a new guided tour highlighting the ship’s World War II history. Admission: $27; $25, seniors; $21, ages 3-11. (562) 435-3511,

* If you think mummies on the big screen are scary, wait till they’re in your face. “The Mummy Returns: Chamber of Doom” at Universal Studios Hollywood offers some eerily familiar sites, sounds and characters from the blockbuster film. Also new this month is “Shrek Live,” a 20-minute stage show based on the animated film, being presented weekends through June 15, then daily through Labor Day.

Other attractions at Universal include the newly opened Nickelodeon Blast Zone, a water play area for all ages, and Animal Planet Live!, featuring live animal acts and characters from television’s Animal Planet network. The park is updating two popular attractions, bringing Jaws “into the ‘90s,” according to a spokesman, while making Jurassic Park: The Ride a wetter experience for brave adventurers. Admission is $43, $33 for kids--but for another $9, get a pass that’s good for a year, excluding specific blackout dates. Universal Studios Hollywood, Universal City. (818) 622-3801, or

* After taking its final bow in 1996, Disney’s Electrical Parade returns for nightly shows, beginning July 4, at California Adventure, the newest addition to the Disneyland Resort. As of this month, people purchasing three- and four-day resort tickets get unlimited park-hopping privileges, allowing visitors unrestricted access to Disneyland and California Adventure. Admission: $43; $33, ages 3-9. Three-day tickets are $111; $87, for ages 3-9. Four-day tickets are $137; $107, for 3-9. Information: (714) 781-4565, or

* Three new roller coasters are altering the skyline at Six Flags Magic Mountain. X and Deja Vu are cutting-edge coasters coming to the coaster capital of the Southland this summer, while Goliath Jr., which opened this spring, offers a miniature version of the popular Goliath for younger riders.

Special summer events at Six Flags include a Gospel Celebration on June 16; Strictly USA, a fireworks extravaganza, on July 4, and a Latin music festival Aug. 25-26. The park opens at 10 a.m. daily through Sept. 3. Admission: $43; children under 48 inches, $21.50. Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, the water park next to Magic Mountain, opens daily beginning Saturday through Sept. 3, then weekends through Sept. 30. Adults, $22; seniors and kids under 48 inches, $15; 2 and younger are free. A combo pass for both parks is $53. Parking is $7. 26101 Magic Mountain Parkway, Valencia. (661) 255-4111,


* Snoopy’s Rockin’ Weekends begin Saturday and continue through June 24 at Knott’s Berry Farm. Kids ages 3-11 get a T-shirt with each child admission, which is discounted to $15 through Sept. 3. On June 24, Snoopy’s Rockin’ Summer kicks in, with an ice show (dark Wednesdays), the All Wheels Extreme featuring professional in-line skaters, BMX bikers and skateboarders (dark Mondays and Tuesdays) and the Calico Stampede, which includes ballet folklorico.

Regular admission is $40, $30 for California residents, $20 after 6 p.m.; $30, seniors; $15, ages 3-11. Knott’s Berry Farm, 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park. Call (714) 220-5200, or check Knott’s two Soak City USA water parks, in Buena Park and San Diego, begin their daily summer schedules Saturday through Sept. 3. Admission: $21; $14.95, ages 3-11. After 3 p.m., $13.95; $11.95, ages 3-11. Parking $7. Information: (714) 220-5200, or

* Pacific Park, Santa Monica’s oceanfront amusement park, debuts two new rides to kick off the summer. The La Monica Swing will send up to 24 passengers flying above the pier deck, while the Pier Patrol is a family-oriented ride along a track. Eight themed trucks will travel through beach scenes, including a miniature Santa Monica Pier arch. Admission to the park, on the Santa Monica Pier, is free; rides and attractions range from $1.25 to $4; all-day wristbands are $15.95 for 42 inches and above, $8.95 for those under 42 inches. Hours vary. Information: (310) 260-8744.

* The Egyptian-themed Pharaoh’s Lost Kingdom has updated its fleet of Bumper Boats to include water cannons, and has streamlined its racetrack, now called Pharaoh’s Speedway, to include time trials. Pharaoh’s Waterworld is open daily 10 a.m.-dusk beginning Saturday, through Sept. 9. Adventure Park hours are 10 a.m.-midnight Fridays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sundays-Thursdays. 1101 N. California St., Redlands. Unlimited passport (including water park) $25; $19, ages 2-11. Water park or Adventure Park only, $20 and $14. Parking, $4. For more information call: (909) 335-7275, or

* This week marks the beginning of lower prices at Legoland for California residents, at $25 for all ages through Labor Day. Regular admission is $39; $33, for ages 3-16 and seniors.

A new summer nights show coincides with the park’s longer summer hours, 10 a.m.-9 p.m., June 23 through Sept. 3. The show, called “Bionicle” after a new toy line, also includes daytime activities. Other new Legoland attractions include the Lego Technic Coaster, aimed at children 6-12, and an interactive stage show based on a toy line, called “Life on Mars.”


The Test Track Diner, the first full-service restaurant at Legoland, is set to open the Fourth of July. Legoland, 1 Legoland Drive, Carlsbad. Information: (760) 918-5346.

* Neptune’s Fury will open in June at Raging Waters in San Dimas. Riders will plunge into a 600-foot-long tunnel, down a 60-foot drop at 30 miles per hour. The park will open daily at 10 a.m. Saturday through Sept. 21, and at 9:30 a.m. on weekends in July and August. Admission is $25 for guests 48 inches and taller, $15 for those under 48 inches and seniors. Ages 2 and younger are free. Season passes purchased by May 31 are $40, $50 after. Parking is $6. Contact the 24-hour hotline for more information: (909) 802-2200.

* Visit the coastal lowlands of Australia at the Aquarium of the Pacific’s new Lorikeet Aviary in Kid’s Cove, opening June 30. The hands-on outdoor exhibit features dozens of lorikeets, which guests can hand-feed for $1. Admission: $15.95; $8.95, ages 3-11; $12.95, seniors. Rainbow Harbor in Long Beach. Information: (562) 590-3100, or

* Opening this weekend at Sea World is Cirque de la Mer, an acrobatic and aquatic show that includes music and special effects, culminating in a fireworks show. The show will run through Labor Day. Sea World’s Rockin’ Summer Nights return this weekend through Labor Day, featuring extended hours, live music, Shamu, Sea Lion and Otter night shows. Mission Bay, San Diego. Admission: $41.95; $31.95, ages 3-11. Information:(619) 226-3901, or