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What to expect with May's new ride debuts at the nation's top theme parks

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Published: May 10, 2011 at 4:57 PM

Let me bring you up to date on this month's major ride debuts around the country.

Theme Park Insider's Domenik Jost will be on the scene at Disney's Hollywood Studios on May 19-20, when Star Tours: The Adventures Continue opens to the press, then public. Star Tours has been in cast previews on the west coast at Disneyland and details are leaking about the ride's plot.

Disney's revamped the industrial-themed pre-show area to make it feel more like a galactic spaceport. And if you've been in an Earth airport recently, you'll know that means... security lines. "DSA" (Droid Security Agency) droids will be "screening" you before you board your starspeeder for a 3D motion simulator adventure.

From there, multiple reports have four places within the movie where the ride system can select different options for your trip, with 54 potential combinations. Think of it as a "choose your adventure" show, with the computer calling the shots. Two of those selections will be destinations for your trip, each time from one of three options - Hoth, Kashyyyk or Tatooine the first time, and Coruscant, the Death Star or Naboo the second. (The other two selections involve characters that you'll encounter along the way. Click the link above and scroll down if you want the full spoiler.)

Domenik will file his report from the Walt Disney World opening, then I'll post my take on the new Star Tours when the ride opens at Disneyland on June 3.

The day before, I'll be at Disney California Adventure for the press debut of The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure. Today, Disney released another promotion video for the dark ride, showing it off for three animators who worked on the 1989 Disney film.

Watch the front-page Blog Flume for my report the evening of June 2, and the Theme Park Insider Twitter feed for live reports from the event.

Domenik will also report from Busch Gardens Tampa for the press debut of Cheetah Hunt on May 26. We're planning for some on-ride video of the new roller coaster, as well as a look around the new surrounding habitat. And I believe that we have Russell Meyer on board for a report on the opening of the Mach Tower at Busch Gardens Williamsburg later this month, as well.

Finally, it looks like from signage in the park that Six Flags Magic Mountain is pushing the debut of the Green Lantern Intamin ZacSpin roller coaster into June. When it opens, we're planning to be there for that media day, as well.

As always, early reports from employee previews and soft openings are welcomed on the site. Just submit a post to the Flume, using the button on the home page, or e-mail it to me. (Anonymity is available, if you need it as a park employee.)

Thanks again for reading Theme Park Insider, and here's looking to a great summer of new rides!

Readers' Opinions

From Anon Mouse on May 11, 2011 at 9:54 AM
I'm excited about Disneyland Resort's makeover. I will skip this year's opening so I will experience next year in totality.

From what I've been reading, it Star Tours and The Little Mermaid are winners.

From Joshua Counsil on May 11, 2011 at 5:07 PM
Star Tours should be great, but I'm still underwhelmed by the Little Mermaid promos.
From Terri Pierce on May 11, 2011 at 7:52 PM
So excited for Little Mermaid! Cannot wait til the remodel finishes in Orlando!
From Robert Niles on May 11, 2011 at 10:03 PM
The Little Mermaid is getting a lot of hipster love these days.
From Anthony O'Neal on May 12, 2011 at 6:58 PM
Very excited to see some of the reviews! I didn't think I was going to make it to many parks this year, but I've hit Six Flags Over Texas already, and I'm hitting Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Kings Dominion in exactly 4 weeks.
From Tiffany J. L. Alfonso on May 16, 2011 at 3:27 PM
Sooooo excited for Cheetah Hunt coming to my local Busch Gardens (I live near Tampa, where it's located)! I can't wait to ride this baby, but I'm right now planning my NJ trip - will head on down the smelly Turnpike and I-195 to Great Adventure to check out Green Lantern! YEAH!

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