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Travelocity Highlights Favorite Theme Park Rides for Summer Adventure Seekers; From the Nostalgic Roller Coasters of Yesterday to the High-Tech Thrillers of Today, Editors Name Top Attractions and What's New for Summer Excitement.

SOUTHLAKE, Texas -- Today's theme park goers have more than 600 amusement parks and traditional attractions to choose from in the U.S. alone, according to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, leaving adrenaline-seekers a myriad of options for their next vacation. With summer approaching and vacationers making their getaway plans, Travelocity editors dug deep to compile coasters, thrillers and soakers from across the country that top the list of amusement park favorites.

"Millions of U.S. travelers head to theme parks each year in search of rides, games and shows," said Jennifer Gaines, a Travelocity editor. "Theme park rides remain the top attraction, and they run the gamut, catering to everyone from families with kids to true adrenaline junkies."

From the more nostalgic rides of earlier generations to the contemporary thrill rides of today, Travelocity editors suggest 10 attractions worth standing in line for when visiting theme parks this summer:

--Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin - Buzz Lightyear, a space ranger who made his debut in the Disney presentation of Pixar's Toy Story, also stars in a cosmic mission that unfolds in the Magic Kingdom(R) Park at Walt Disney World(R) Resort. This ultramodern, high-tech adventure gives riders the illusion they're traveling through another galaxy. It allows both kids and adults to become junior Space Rangers, piloting a Star Cruiser equipped with laser cannons through imaginative celestial worlds on a mission to save the toy universe. This interactive ride evokes friendly competition among the entire family, allowing riders to score points as they navigate through outer space (a version of this attraction also can be found at Disneyland(R) Park).

--Curse of Darkastle - Travel through an ice-bound world in a golden sleigh, experiencing eye-popping visuals and heart-stopping excitement while traversing a castle frozen in time. The impeccable visuals on the Curse of Darkastle blends perfectly with the aesthetic scenery for which Busch Gardens Williamsburg is known. The ride utilizes intense 3-D imagery to thrust riders into the fictional life of young King Ludwig who took over the throne and turned his castle into a terrifying, impenetrable fortress. Beware as the coaster-like sleigh makes its way through the castle, encountering wind, fire, shattering ice and a larger-than-life wolf looming throughout the palace.

--Cyclone - Rough around the edges and evocative of the days "back when...," Coney Island's Cyclone embodies an attitude only found in Brooklyn, New York. With decades of history under its brakes, the coaster tells stories of merry summers and troubled times. The Cyclone began making a name for itself after being built in 1927, achieving legendary status and possibly earning the title of America's most famous coaster. While the 86-foot hill and various turns may seem tame next to the mega-coasters of today, this undeniably nostalgic experience overlooking Surf Avenue is certainly worth a trip to Coney Island.

--Dueling Dragons - With two separate coasters that intertwine with one another to create a combat-like impression, it's the world's first dueling, inverted roller coaster. Located at Orlando's Universal Studios Islands of Adventure, ride the Fire Dragon or the Ice Dragon as they narrowly pass within inches of one another on the intertwining tracks. Soar 125 feet in the air, reaching speeds of 55 mph on two exceptional rides that seemingly collide midair. The ride itself is not only thrilling, but theme park junkies agree that it boasts "one of the best queues ever," winding through an intricate castle that builds the suspense.

--Insanity - An amusement park in itself, Las Vegas has a number of thrill rides to ponder, but none capture a view of the Las Vegas strip like Insanity, which extends 64 feet over the north edge of the Stratosphere tower. Spin up to three Gs while being pulled out in "escape-proof" seats at an angle of 70 degrees and learn why it's called Insanity. While buckled in, try to muster the courage to open your eyes for a view of the Las Vegas Strip, which lies a terrifying 900 feet below.

--Journey to Atlantis - Part thrill ride, part water ride and part roller coaster, this Sea World attraction combines elements of classic theme park rides with remarkable special effects to create one of the top adventure rides of its kind. Not your usual lift hill, the journey starts in a boat on an atypical elevator ride to the top of the coaster's crest. Plummet down the ride's 60-foot flume drop to get utterly soaked before facing the powers that be, where riders learn that the people of Atlantis lost their connection to the sea and are trying to regain it. This ride's drops and screams promise thrills of their own, but the real entertainment comes with each and every t-shirt soaking splash. (Found in Sea World San Diego and Orlando)

--Pirates of the Caribbean - So captivating and adventurous that it inspired a hit Hollywood film, Pirates of the Caribbean is perhaps one of the most well-known theme park attractions ever built. A classic indeed, Walt Disney himself had a hand in designing the ride, which first opened at Disneyland(R) Park in 1967. This lively attraction takes its crew on a hunt for pirate booty. Traverse the dark, spooky waters of the Caribbean, where an explosion of cannonballs, a village of sinister pirates and a town blazing with fire await. Currently closed to add inspirations from the movie (including Captain Jack Sparrow), climb aboard when it re-opens this summer. (This ride is also featured at the Magic Kingdom(R) Park in Orlando.)

--Raptor - Known for its world class collection of roller coasters, Ohio's Cedar Point was one of the first amusement parks to introduce an inverted coaster. As these inverted thrillers go, the Raptor is one of the best. Let your feet hang free as you reach heights of more than 130 feet on this outside looping coaster. Encounter a barrel roll, a high-speed helix and cobra roll, which flips passengers over and spirals them upside down into a 180-degree roll. This twisting move also repeats in reverse order.

--Timber Mountain Log Ride - Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, Calif. is known for firsts, including being America's first theme park and introducing the first-ever log flume ride. Experience the darkness of Timber Mountain Log Ride as this traditional mine-themed attraction twists along a 2,100-foot waterway at speeds ranging from eight to 12 feet per second. Plummet down the flume propelled by 24,000 gallons of water, and expect to be splashed. During Halloween, the ride is haunted by ghosts and goblins for extra excitement.

--Titan - If the 255-foot drop doesn't send chills up your spine, then the Titan's climactic 85 mph plunge certainly will. This roller coaster, a Six Flags Over Texas favorite boasts a track more than a mile long constructed with half a million pounds of steel. Experience three-and-a-half minutes of larger-than-life thrills, encountering spirals, plunges, helixes and a 120-foot tunnel masked in total darkness. Tip: Consider riding this thriller before lunch and don't forget to hold on tight!

What's New for 2006

--Disney's Animal Kingdom (Orlando) officially opens Expedition Everest this month. In Disney lingo, this "high-altitude, high-speed train adventure" sends riders through a Himalayan village outfitted with hairpin turns and nail-biting peaks.

--Head to Pigeon Forge, Tenn. for Dollywood's Timber Tower, a first of its kind in North America. Board a vehicle that sends riders spiraling up a 65-foot tower. After reaching the top, the tower topples from side to side, narrowly missing jets of water from below.

--Don't miss "the world's first reality coaster" at Paramount's Great America (Santa Clara, Calif.) Survivor the Ride, based on the CBS series, is a spinning coaster that takes riders atop a revolving platform in motorcycle seats as it navigates the hills of a short coaster track.

Amusement Park Tips

--Use the buddy system and agree on a meeting place should anyone get lost.

--Always wear sunscreen, comfy walking shoes and clothing with zipper pockets.

--Arrive early and stay late to take advantage of smaller crowds.

For more rides and tips, go to

About Travelocity

Travelocity is committed to being the traveler's champion - before, during and after the trip and guarantees everything about a customer's booking will be right. If it's not, Travelocity will work with its partners to make it right, right away. This customer-driven focus, backed by live 24/7 phone support, great prices and powerful shopping technology has made Travelocity the fifth largest travel agency in the U.S. - booking $7.4 billion in travel worldwide in 2005. Based in Southlake, Texas, Travelocity also owns and operates Travelocity Business(SM) and GetThere for corporate travelers,, a leader in European online travel and ZUJI, a leader in Asia-Pacific online travel. Travelocity is owned by Sabre Holdings Corporation (NYSE:TSG), a world leader in travel commerce.
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Date:Apr 5, 2006
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