Theme-Park Thrills


This summer's new theme-park attractions are throwing the average roller coaster for a loop by incorporating high-tech 4-D animation, rock and roll, and even America's real first family, the Simpsons. Cowabunga, dude!

Simpsons Ride
At Universal Studios in Orlando and southern California, you enter the Simpsons Ride through the mouth of a 28-foot-tall Krusty the Clown, then join Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie for a trip through Krusty's theme park, Krustyland. Other favorite characters, such as Moe, Apu, and Sideshow Bob, make guest appearances throughout.

The Dark Knight Coaster
On the new Batman-themed coaster at Six Flags in Gurnee, Ill., and Jackson, N.J., you zip through a half dozen 180-degree hairpin turns. The highlight, though, is a plunge into pitch darkness during a pursuit by the Joker.

Toy Story Mania!
You wear 3-D glasses and aim for targets using spring-action guns on this midway-inspired ride at Disneyland and Walt Disney World (the goal is to finish with a high score). Thanks to 4-D effects, you'll even feel objects whizzing past you.

Hersheypark, in Hershey, Pa., has a new ride that isn't for the faint of heart: Fahrenheit is an inverted-loop roller coaster that sends you plummeting down a 97-degree drop. That makes it the steepest dip at an amusement park in the U.S.

Led ZeppelinThe Ride
The first rock-and-roll park, Hard Rock Park, in Myrtle Beach, S.C., has more than 50 music-related rides. The Led Zeppelin coaster, timed to "Whole Lotta Love," boasts onboard audio, six inversions, and a 120-foot-tall loop.

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