LA Times: It already seems like 2012 is shaping up as a good year for ride enthusiasts and theme park fans as the major industry players are planning to roll out big projects that have been on the drawing boards for a while.
Other projects remain mysteries that the marketing divisions at the individual parks have been relentlessly priming with viral campaigns designed to build excitement in advance of an official announcement.
Since it is still early, I'll update my Top 12 over the coming months as new projects are announced. Until then, here's my list of most anticipated rides for 2012:
1) Cars Land, the 12-acre themed land under construction at Disney California Adventure, will feature three new rides set amid a faithful re-creation of the isolated red rock desert town populated by Lightning McQueen and other animated vehicles in the Pixar movie “Cars.”
2) The Magic Kingdom will transform Fantasyland into a magical fairy-tale forest with new and upgraded rides, character meet-and-greet areas and a themed restaurant. The centerpiece of the expansion at the Florida park will be a new Little Mermaid dark ride that will take visitors on a musical journey under the sea with Ariel and her friends.
3) Universal Studios Hollywood will add a Transformers dark ride featuring 3-D high-definition footage with special effects and robotics. The new Transformers attraction at the California park is expected to constitute the next generation of the Spiderman dark ride systems at Universal Studios parks in Florida and Japan.
4) SeaWorld San Diego will add a $10-million roller coaster that marks the U.S. debut of a highly anticipated prototype ride. The 30-foot-tall Manta coaster at the California park will feature dual launch zones, a 54-foot drop into a subterranean trench and a dramatic wing dip into a shallow lake over a 2,800-foot-long track.
5) Busch Gardens Williamsburg has announced that a new multi-launch roller coaster will replace the former Big Bad Wolf suspended coaster. In surveys, the Virginia park has asked visitors to rate four potential names: Revenge of the Black Forest, Uber Bahn, Black Forest Turbo or Verbolten.
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