What to expect at theme parks in 2011

The coming year will bring major new attractions at Disney parks on both coasts, big roller-coaster additions at Six Flags and Busch Gardens and a throng of towering thrill rides at a handful of parks.

The headliner for 2011 is the $100-million Voyage of the Little Mermaid, coming to Disney California Adventure. The elaborate, dark ride will take visitors on a family-friendly musical underwater journey based on "The Little Mermaid" animated movie. A similar version of the ride will open in 2012 at the Magic Kingdom in Florida.

Disney also snatches the costarring role for 2011 with the long-anticipated reboot of the classic Star Tours attraction at Disneyland in California and Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida. Passengers will have the power to change the story line throughout the motion simulator ride, resulting in a different beginning, middle and end for every journey.

Six Flags Magic Mountain in California will reclaim the coveted title of Roller Coaster Capital of the World in 2011 with the addition of the Green Lantern. The vertical coaster, which looks and functions like a pachinko machine, will feature suspended trains that rock back and forth on the straight-aways and rotate head over heels as the cars plunge over freefall drops. The meek need not partake.

The conservation-minded, jungle safari-themed Busch Gardens in Tampa, Fla., takes the prize for the most inappropriately named new coaster of 2011: Cheetah Hunt. The magnetically propelled coaster will feature three separate launch points and a 130-foot drop.

Info: disneyland.disney.go.com, disneyworld.disney.go.com, . http://www.sixflags.com/magicmountain, http://www.buschgardens.com/bgt —Brady MacDonald

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