Pomona College Magazine
Volume 41. No. 1.
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Amuse yourself at a theme park.

With so much sunny weather, it’s no surprise that L.A. is home to a slew of theme parks. The trick to a good visit is showing up early and prioritizing your rides. We turned to Robert Niles, editor of the themeparkinsider.com Website, for his must-see attractions.

Disneyland: Niles’ favorite ride remains the classic Pirates of the Caribbean. This water ride is cool and dark, a big plus on a hot, sunny day. And he never tires of watching Animatronic pirates wreaking havoc. “You get to see all the seven deadly sins in action, and bad guys get it in the end,” he says. “It’s Scarface for 8 year olds.” The only drawback is the theme song can get stuck in your head.

Disney’s California Adventure: The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is the top attraction here. You’re supposed to be exploring the once-luxurious Hollywood Tower Hotel which has gone, well, downhill. Prepare for a plunge in the elevator. With the darkness and special effects, “it’s a unique take on the classic ‘drop’ ride,” says Niles. “It’s designed to be a bit more of a psychological experience.”

Knott’s Berry Farm: The wooden GhostRider coaster, with an initial drop of 108 feet, is Niles’ pick here. “It’s probably the best wooden coaster in Southern California,” says Niles. He likes wood coasters because “they’re just a little rougher and less smooth than a steel roller coaster.”

Magic Mountain: The X coaster marks the spot here. This unconventional coaster puts thrill seekers in 20-foot wing-shaped vehicles that spin forward and backward as they race down the coaster track. The speed reaches 76 miles per hour and one of the drops plunges 200 feet. Niles recommends getting to the park early and heading to “X” first. “It’s a bit of a quest to get on,” he says.

Universal Studios: Jurassic Park is one of those sure-to-get-wet flume rides, with an 84-foot drop down a waterfall and plenty of Animatronic dinosaurs. Niles also likes the Shrek 4-D attraction, with a 3-D film and seats that move. “Stuff shoots at you,” he says.
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