NEW YORK -- Theme and amusement park trips are more likely to
include longer overnight stays (5.3 nights) compared with the
average U.S. trip (4.1 nights), according to the Travel Industry
Association's Domestic Travel Market Report for 2003.
And one-fourth of these trips last seven nights or more, making
theme park vacations a good sell.
Here is a rundown of what's happening at U.S. theme parks this
• MGM Studios in Los Angeles signed a two-year deal with
Six Flags to open attractions based on MGM's
syndicated TV series "Stargate SG-1" at Six Flags theme parks in
three U.S. cities.
This marks the North American premiere of Stargate SG 3000, an
interactive simulation adventure that made its debut at Space
Center Bremen in Germany in December 2003.
The Stargate attractions will open at Six Flags Marine World
(Vallejo, Calif.), Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom (Louisville) and Six
Flags Great America (Chicago).
Stargate SG 3000 features a four-minute
simulation film that lets audiences experience what it would be
like to soar into different dimensions.
Here's the premise: It's the year 3000. Stargate Command has
developed a Gate Key that provides control of all "stargates"
throughout the universe. The evil Queen Satra, a character created
for Stargate SG 3000, wants to capture the Gate Key and gain
control of the universe.
• New this year at Paramount's Great America in
Santa Clara, Calif., is Crocodile Dundee's Boomerang Bay, an
Australia-inspired water park that is inside the theme park and
free with park admission.
Paramount's Great America is also home to Nickelodeon
characters, including SpongeBob SquarePants.
Paramount's Great America hotel packages, which include an
overnight stay and two tickets to the theme park, range in price
from $99 to $149.
Many of the packages include breakfast and shuttle service to
and from the park.
Agents can find a complete listing of the 2004 Paramount's Great
America weekend packages at www.santaclara.org. In addition to accessing
package information online, agents can obtain a Weekend Package
brochure detailing each hotel's rates and amenities by calling
• Mountain Creek water park in Vernon, N.J.,
has 26 rides, slides and attractions, from last year's new High
Anxiety slide to the 99-foot drop of the H2-Oh-No Speed Slide.
In addition to the attractions above and the Colorado River
Ride, the Tarzan Swings and the High Tide Wavepool, Mountain Creek
offers water fun for the little ones in Half Pint Harbor, the Lit'l
Dippers Wading Pool, the Fishin' Village and Lost Island, a
kid-size lazy river.
Mountain Creek's Waterpark package, which includes townhouse
accommodations and a daily pass to the park, starts at $64 per
person, per night with a four-person minimum. Commission on lodging
For lodging, call (973) 209-3300 or visit www.mountaincreek.com.
Hersheypark in Hershey, Pa., opened for the summer
season on May 8 with a new "runaway" attraction. The $12.5 million
Storm Runner, a hydraulic coaster with corkscrew
turns, features technology that takes riders from a stopped
position to 72 mph in two seconds.
Hersheypark admission rates include a visit to Hershey's 11-acre
Zooamerica North American Wildlife Park when entered through the
theme park. Rates are $37.95 for ages 9 to 54; $21.95 for ages 3 to
8 and 55 to 69; and $15.95 for ages 70 and older. Children age 2
and younger are admitted free. Two- and three-day Fun Flex tickets
and group discounts are available.
Overnight packages offer admission to the park along with
lodging at either the Hotel Hershey or the Hershey Lodge and
Convention Center. The Breakfast at the Park package includes
accommodations; a Hershey character breakfast; early admission to
Hersheypark; and admission to Hershey Gardens and the Hershey
The package is available to Aug. 21 at rates beginning at $438
at the Hotel Hershey and $328 at the Hershey Lodge. Rates are per
room, per night, based on double adult occupancy.
The Hersheypark in the Dark package, available Fridays and
Saturdays from Oct. 15 to 30, includes accommodations; a
ride-all-night wristband; a character breakfast at Hershey Lodge;
shuttle transportation to Hersheypark in the Dark and admission to
the Hershey Museum and Hershey Gardens. Rates are $199 per adult,
per night, double; $41 per child; and $66 per night for an
For information on the park and on summer events, call (800)
HERSHEY or visit www.hersheypa.com. For lodging and package information
and reservations, call (800) 533-3131.
• Cedar Fair, which owns and operates six
amusement parks and five water parks, announced it plans to invest
$25 million in its parks. The bulk of the funds ($10 million) will
focus on the resort side of the Cedar Point
amusement park, located in Sandusky, Ohio, and the park's adjacent
Soak City water park, which will be expanded.
The expansion will be highlighted by the introduction of Splash
Zone, a multistory, interactive play area. Meanwhile, Cedar Point's
$22 million, 51,000-square-foot Castaway Bay indoor water-park
resort, under construction and set for completion in November, will
be a major expansion to the park's existing Radisson Harbour Inn
property and Cedar Point's first year-round attraction.
Castaway Bay's 237 rooms will be centered around the
38,000-square-foot indoor water park. The property will also
feature three restaurants, a day-care center, a spa and massage
center, an arcade and more than 12,000 square feet of meetings
For reservations and information, call (419) 627-2106.
• Opening in Cincinnati in early fall, the National
Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the first of its kind
in the country, is a 158,000-square-foot facility complete with an
education and research center, five history galleries, a changing
exhibits gallery and a performance theater.
For more information, visit www.discoverohio.com or call (800) BUCKEYE.
• The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is the new
thrill ride this spring at Disney's California
Adventure. Based on the classic TV series, the attraction
is set in an abandoned Hollywood luxury hotel. For more
information, visit www.disneyland.com.
To contact Destinations Editor Margaret Myre, send e-mail to