March 14, 2020
By Chris C.
While some enthusiasts have the pleasure of living in a warm climate or have a home park that is open year round, almost half the population of the United States does not. I live in the midwest and man, is it cold. So, when March arrives I am in full “cabin fever” mode.
Beginning in fall, the announcements and news from our favorite parks for the upcoming year start trickling in, and I get so excited. New rides, opening days, special events; I soak it all in like warm sunbeams. As winter comes and wanes people start to ask questions like, “when is that new ride opening?” or “when is opening day?” and I draw a blank. This year I am compiling a list of each Cedar Fair park, what is new for 2020, and their opening day. Then, I will add this article to “favorites” in my browser and voilà, I’ll have it all right in front of me with one click. You can do the same. Let’s get started, from West to East.
California’s Great America– Nestled in the heart of Silicon Valley, Santa Clara, CA, CGA will be opening April 4th (it was March 20th, changed due to COVID-19). This year they will be opening South Bay Shores water park. Themed to Northern California’s coast and South Bay region, it will highlight new and exciting water attractions, new and upgraded food, premium cabanas and a real sand beach. If you want to enjoy the new water slides, tide pool, and Pier 76 cafe and Sand Bar you’ll have to wait until this Summer. There is no word yet on the official opening date of this part of the park.
Knotts Berry Farm is open year round (however, it is currently closed due to COVID-19 until April 1st) and is located just outside of Los Angeles in Buena Park, CA. Knott’s Berry Farm started as a small berry farm and is now an amazing family theme park destination thanks to famous fried chicken dinners, boysenberries and an Old West Ghost Town. This year the park is Celebrating its 100 year anniversary! There will be events planned all summer starting May 15th, paying tribute to the rich history of the Knott’s legacy. They are featuring “The Knott’s Family Reunion,” which enables guests and fans of the park to share their warmest memories while creating exciting new ones. Homage will be paid this season with special decorations, food, exclusive souvenirs and entertainment. The park also revealed the newest 4-D dark ride, “Knott’s Bear-y Tales” that will replace the previous dark ride, Voyage to the Iron Reef that debuted at the park in 2015. No date has been announced for the opening of Knott’s Bear-y Tales.
Worlds of Fun– Kansas City, MO- Opening day for the Amusement park is April 10th, with Oceans of Fun opening May 22nd. You may ask yourself, where is the longest mat slide in the Midwest? Well, it is now in Missouri at Oceans of Fun! The Riptide Raceway debuts with the opening of Oceans of Fun and will really enhance their already popular water park.
Valley Fair- Shakopee, MN- The park that put the “fair” in “Cedar Fair” opens May 15th. This year they will feature the Grande Carnivale. This experience was unveiled in four Cedar Fair Parks last year and has made its way to Valley Fair. You can see it July 25th through August 16th. I don’t think my description of the event would do it justice, so here is an excerpt from their website; “Immerse yourself in the electrifying vibe of our Spectacle of Color Parade, a prismatic procession that reflects joyous cultural traditions from around the globe. A fanciful fusion of extravagantly decorated floats, mesmerizing street performers and pulsing rhythms, this parade promises to enchant and delight — especially as the day slips into night and the sky radiates with a dazzling array of lights that takes on a life of its own during this cultural event.”
Michigan’s Adventure– Near the shores of Lake Michigan, in Muskegon, MI Michigan’s adventure will be opening May 22nd– Who will be there? Snoopy and the Peanuts® gang! Michigan’s Adventure will open Camp Snoopy featuring five family rides, including a new small roller coaster, Woodstock Express. The area will be attractively landscaped with plenty of seating and shaded areas for family to rest and enjoy. The new area will feature the new “Beagle Scout Acres,” a large climb-and-play structure with lots of interactive features and things to climb. Can I be a kid again?
Kings Island– is located is right between Cincinnati and Columbus in Mason, OH. The park will open April 11th. Other than the kiddie coaster at Michigan’s Adventure, the only roller coaster to be built in the Cedar Fair chain is at this Park. There were six giga coasters in the world, now there are seven! Welcome Orion to Southwest Ohio’s landscape. This coaster is themed to Kings Island’s newly themed “Area 72.” Orion will plummet you 300 feet and smoothly travel 5,321 feet of track while reaching speeds of 91 mph! Learn more about this coaster’s backstory centered around the “Project X initiative,” on their website or find clues in the signs and theming around the queue line.
Cedar Point is nestled nicely in Ohio’s north coast town of Sandusky, OH. On May 9th, opening day, Cedar Point will start celebrating its 150th Anniversary. What once was just a biergarten and “bathing beach” in 1870 has become renowned as being one of, if not the best amusement parks in the world! This year the park will feature new places to eat, a nighttime spectacular, a river adventure ride (Snake River Expedition), all meant to celebrate the park’s rich history of family and fun. “The FUN is Just Beginning!” is the mantra for this incredible park’s celebration. Look for the new multi-sensory nighttime parade with more than 100 performers and illuminated floats moving to an original score along the Main Midway each night June 12 – August 16. There is also a chance to win a “ticket of a lifetime” and many souvenirs and merchandise that will make you nostalgic. I can’t wait to get fresh squeezed juice in an orange-shaped container. There is a lot more to share, so check out their website.
Canada’s Wonderland– Near Toronto in Vaughan, Ontario- Canada’s Wonderland’s opening day is May 1st. Two attractions are going to be opening in 2020. Mountain Bay Cliffs is a multi-level cliff jumping attraction for the water park. Guests will actually jump from great heights into a pool below. Now that sounds fun! Also opening this year and located in Planet Snoopy is the Beagle Brigade Airfield, an exciting airplane ride for children. It is of course themed to Peanuts® Snoopy characters.
Carowinds– Resting on the “literal” border of North and South Carolina (Charlotte and Fort Mill respectively) Carowinds will open on April 4th (it was March 20th, changed due to COVID-19)- Similar to the slides going into Worlds of Fun, Carowinds is getting Boogie Board Racer as an addition to their already popular water park. It also tout’s being the “longest mat racing slide in the Southeast, delivering an AMAZING high-speed, high-thrill experience.” Carowinds will also be featuring their own Grande Carnivale in 2020. June 13th through July 5th you can partake in the colorful costumes and excitement, as well as a Carnivale Street Party where you can take in international music, street entertainers and specialty food. Another place to note is the all-new, onsite SpringHill Suites by Marriott Charlotte. It is finished and now taking reservations.
Dorney Park– (Allentown, PA) will be opening May 1st. This delightful eastern Pennsylvania park is expanding its water park Wildwater Kingdom this summer with the new beach-themed multi-level play structure, Seaside Splashworks. New water slides, interactive spray jets and water cannons are just the start. Also, there’s a new 317 gallon tipping bucket that drenches everyone, plus a 195 foot net bridge are in the works.
Kings Dominion– Doswell, VA Near the state capitol, Richmond , Kings Dominion will open April 4th (it was March 28th, changed due to COVID-19). They have taken out the rides Volcano and The Crypt, so what are they putting in? Well, like most of the other Cedar Fair parks, they are making a splash with the new addition to their water park, Coconut Shores: a 45 foot tall multi-level aqua play structure named Lighthouse landing, a 3,000 square foot mini wave pool for the little ones, and new executive chef designed dining experiences.
That’s it for Cedar Fair’s major announcements and opening days for 2020. Hopefully, we will see you out in “amusement land” sometime this season. Our first park visit will be at Kings Island to ride Orion. I can’t wait!