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Want to go for a ride in January? The coaster is clear as theme parks expand their seasons

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Want to go for a ride in January? The coaster is clear as theme parks expand their seasons

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This one’s no longer for the queasy: Iron Gwazi, space to start at Busch Gardens in spring 2021 includes a 91-diploma descend.

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USA TODAY

Folks with a yen for negative G-forces and churros in the heart of winter have prolonged been able to head to the large destination theme parks in temperate Florida and California.

These hoping to obtain their roller coaster fixes at parks in diversified parts of the country were generally out of success. That’s changing as some seasonal parks start their gates in January and February and swap to four-season, year-spherical operation. However the screams reverberating on their midways this time of year may be as remarkable from frigid-weather chills as coaster thrills.

In latest years, halloween events expanded shoulder seasons at regional theme parks, along with holiday events that stored gates start by means of late December.

Now, the carousels practically by no means stop spinning at parks such as Six Flags Over Texas near Dallas and Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Virginia.

The pattern is partly fueled by the pandemic. “With COVID, individuals are craving to obtain out, and Six Flags has a safe, start air atmosphere conducive to social distancing,” says Bonnie Sherman Weber, the park chain’s senior vp of operations. She also notes that individuals aren’t working traditional schedules and have extra flexibility to visit parks.

Six Flags Over Texas is presenting its first-ever Hearth & Ice Winter Festival on weekends by means of Feb. 28 as properly as Feb. 15 for the Presidents Day holiday. Visitors will peaceful be able to take pleasure in the twinkling lights and snow sledding that were already part of the park’s holiday tournament. There are fireworks reveals each Saturday and most rides, such as the Original Texas Giant coaster, are start during the tournament. For an additional rate, guests can indulge their inner Winter Olympian by trying their hands at curling at the Six Flags ice rink. And once you happen to need to warm up – or contain up – after all that, the park is serving hearty, stick-to-your-ribs dishes such as loaded baked potatoes and chili. (Reveal: Advance reservations are required.)

Sister park Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio is holding a Mardi Gras festival, full with cavalcade floats, Original Orleans-style music, colourful beads, and treats such as boiled crawfish, jambalayas and beignets – and for the grown-ups, there’ll also be cocktails treasure hurricanes. It is also start on weekends by means of Feb. 28 as properly as Presidents Day. The park is offering a walk-by means of haunted maze-style attraction, The Houngan Apartment of Voodoo, along with most of its rides.  (Reveal: Advance reservations are required.)

Generally, the winters aren’t crazy frigid in Texas. The same can’t be said for Virginia where Busch Gardens Williamsburg is opening its gates in January, February, and early March for the first time ever. “Our fans appreciate riding our world-class roller coasters no matter the temperature,” says Kevin Lembke, the park’s president.

The Virginia park is holding its possess Mardi Gras tournament on weekends from Jan. 29 by means of Feb. 28 as properly as the Presidents Day holiday. There’ll probably be a Original Orleans jazz band, stilt walkers, hurricane cocktails, and diversified NOLA enjoyable. (Reveal: Reservations are required.)

Busch Gardens Williamsburg is also planning a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration on recall days from March 5 to 28. This can focal point on the park’s Irish village and celebrate the country’s music, dance, and cuisine.  Among the attractions: Battle for Eire, a sophisticated, Irish-themed, motion-simulator ride that incorporates virtual reality technology.  Over a dozen rides, including the wooden coaster InvadR, are start during these events. (Tickets for this tournament have no longer gone on sale but however reservations is regularly required.)

The winter events assist add value to the annual membership programs available at Six Flags as properly as Busch Gardens (part of SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment) – especially after the pandemic forced the parks to temporarily end and decrease capacity when they reopened. It’s also likely that the January and February events are an attempt by the park chains to recoup a few of the revenue they have been misplaced due to COVID.

“It made ideally suited sense for us to continue to provide our contributors and guests an opportunity to safely expertise Busch Gardens year spherical. It’s evident individuals are seeking some sense of normalcy, and we are thrilled to be able to present that with our restricted capacity events,” Lembke says, adding that the pandemic “forced us to rethink our business and challenged us to be creative.”

SeaWorld San Antonio, which is no longer far from Six Flags Fiesta Texas, is start year-spherical for the first time in over a decade. On weekends by means of Jan. 31, it is presenting Wild Days, which is able to celebrate the park’s animals as properly as its rides. On weekends and diversified recall  days from Feb. 6 to 28, the park will maintain its possess Mardi Gras tournamentwith reside music, Creole and Cajun food, and specialty drinks.

The COVID outbreak may have inspired some regional parks to start their gates in the first months of the year, however some were already exploring the idea of operating year-spherical and now it be a growing pattern.

“We were discussing and planning year-spherical operation before the pandemic,” says Byron Surrett, SeaWorld San Antonio’s park president. He hopes that it proves to prevail and that the park will continue to retain its gates start after the threat of the pandemic has passed.

This is the 2nd year that Six Flags Over Texas is start all over the first quarter and the third year for Six Flags Fiesta Texas. The chain’s Discovery Kingdom park in the Northern California city of Vallejo made the swap in 2014, while Six Flags Magic Mountain, which is in the Los Angeles area, expanded its 12-month calendar to daily operation in late 2017.

“The realm has changed,” says Six Flags’ Sherman Weber. “It’s no longer moral COVID. Of us want to advance out. They can expertise the parks without the large crowds.”

As with all theme parks in California, Six Flags Magic Mountain has no longer been able to resume normal operations since the pandemic forced it to end last spring. However it did find a intelligent way to welcome guests back by presenting the Holiday in the Park Pressure-by means of Journey, which continues on weekends by means of Jan. 31. Company remain in their cars and slowly power along the park’s promenades to see light reveals choreographed to festive music. (Reservations and tickets are required for each individual in the automobile.)

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Northern California is presenting a similar tournament on recall evenings by means of the finish of January.

“We are trying to find some silver lining to advance out of what we are all going by means of,” Sherman Weber says about the pandemic-era holiday experiences. “Company are raving about it.”

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Want to go for a ride in January? The coaster is clear as theme parks expand their seasons