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Some 'hot' news updates from Disneyland

Robert Niles

By Robert Niles
Published: September 15, 2014 at 10:07 PM

Greetings from crispy California, where the temperature hit 100 degrees at Disneyland today, and is expected to hit 100 there again tomorrow. Of course, Anaheim's relatively near the coast, so it got off easy. Temperatures approached 110 degrees in other parts of the metropolitan area today.

Jose in the Tiki room
The best place to be when the temperature hits triple-digits at Disneyland.

This provides an opportunity to remind people that the number-one safety danger in theme parks actually is the weather. Heat and sun send more people to the first-aid center at theme parks than any other source of illness or injury. So please take a moment to read our theme park safety tips when you're sitting in the shade or air conditioning and helping yourself to a drink of water tomorrow. If you're out in the parks, stay out of the heat as much as you can. When it's 100 at Disneyland, if you don't have the words to the Tiki room show memorized by the end of your visit, you're not doing it right. (Remember, they'll let you take your Dole Whip floats into the theater!)

In other news from the Disneyland Resort:

Disneyland's now using the return-time ticket system for its Anna and Elsa meet-and-greet that the Magic Kingdom was testing earlier this year. That means no stand-by wait for the Frozen stars — instead, you'll pick up a return-time card and come back then for your photo-and-autograph op.

The 4D "Magic Eye Theater" in Tomorrowland appears to be turning into Disney's sneak-peek theater, as the park has announced plans to show previews of Big Hero 6 in the theater, starting September 26. Over the summer, the theater was showing previews for Guardians of the Galaxy. Hey, anything to keep Captain EO from returning.

Roast pork loin at Flo's
No more of this in Cars Land

Last week, we wrote about/mourned the loss of the flatbread pizzas at the Boardwalk in Disney California Adventure. This week, the menu changes continue — this time at Flo's V8 Cafe in Cars Land. Off the menu are the sliced roast beef, pork, and turkey breast platters, replaced by a rotisserie chicken, turkey dip sandwich, roast beef & cheddar sandwich, and barbecue ribs. I guess Disney figures it will sell more if they put more stuff on buns? Anyway, the citrus turkey salad and veggie tater bake survive.

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Monday Top 10: Disney's Best Roller Coasters

Robert Niles

By Robert Niles
Published: September 15, 2014 at 11:32 AM

Roller coasters probably aren't the first things that come to mind when you think about the Disney theme parks. But Disney really helped start the modern era of coasters, as its Matterhorn Bobsleds (built by the late Arrow Corporation) was the first multi-train, tubular steel roller coaster in the world. Disney's led the way since then in blending theme with thrills with several wildly popular coaster rides. In fact, it's likely that more people have ridden Disney's roller coasters than coasters at any other theme park chain, due to Disney's huge lead in theme park market share.

Here are the top 10 roller coasters at Disney theme parks, as rated by Theme Park Insider readers. To maximize variety, for coasters that Disney's copied at multiple parks, we've listed the top-rated version.

10. Matterhorn Bobsleds

Disney's first roller coaster hangs on in the number 10 spot, though it'd probably have rated higher if not for the new trains installed during the 2012 refurbishment. Many fans have complained about the smaller seats, as well as the new 42-inch minimum height requirement that keeps the Matterhorn from being the "first coaster" that it was for generations of future coaster enthusiasts.

9. Raging Spirits
Tokyo DisneySea

Raging Spirits

Themed to a South American archeological dig, the Intamin looping coaster packs a punch in its relatively small footprint. You'll also find this coaster at Disneyland Paris as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril.

8. Space Mountain: Mission 2
Disneyland Paris

Space Mountain: Mission 2

Okay, we've got two "Space Mountains" on this list. But Paris' Jules Verne-themed version is so unlike the other Space Mountains around the world that it deserves a separate entry. This Vekoma launch coaster offers sidewinder, corkscrew, and tongue inversions, a top speed of 44 miles per hour, and headaches galore for people expecting the tamer, traditional Space Mountain ride. But for riders who know what they're getting into, SMM2 offers the most extreme thrills legally available at a Disney theme park.

7. Crush's Coaster
Walt Disney Studios Paris

Crush's Coaster

Star with a Maurer Söhne spinning coaster and surrounding it with a Finding Nemo-themed dark ride and you'll have what was (until Remy arrived) the most popular ride at the Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris Resort. With no Fastpass, though, the hours-long waits depress many readers' enthusiasm for the ride.

6. California Screamin'
Disney California Adventure

California Screamin'

A modern steel coaster decorated to look like an old-fashioned beach-side woodie, this Intamin looping coaster couldn't be more different than Raging Spirits in look and feel. Enhanced with on-ride audio and a high-speed launch, Screamin' is a great ride for young fans looking to make the first step up to "big kid" coasters.

5. Rock 'n' Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith
Disney's Hollywood Studios

Rock 'n' Roller Coaster

The ultimate in blending high-speed thrills with a high-volume soundtrack, this Vekoma launch coaster is Disney's most popular "upside down" coaster, and the wildest ride to a concert you'll ever (again, legally) experience.

4. Expedition Everest
Disney's Animal Kingdom

Pour one out for the still-broken "Disco Yeti," but then just allow yourself to enjoy the highest-rated roller coaster at Walt Disney World. Wonderfully decorated, with a blend of speed, thrills, and excitement that appeals across generations, Everest truly is a "can't miss" experience for first-time visitors to the Walt Disney World Resort.

3. Space Mountain

Space Mountain

Among the traditional Space Mountains, Disneyland's version gets the nod from readers for its on-board soundtrack and smooth-riding track, thanks to a 2005 rebuild. And if you visit in the fall, you can experience the "Ghost Galaxy" overlay, when Disney changes up the music and the visual effects for Halloween.

2. Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Cars
Hong Kong Disneyland

Perhaps overshadowed by the wildly popular Mystic Manor, Big Grizzly Mountain also helped transform Hong Kong Disneyland from an afterthought to a park that's now high on many Disney's fans "I wish I could visit there" bucket lists.

1. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Disneyland Paris

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

The "wildest ride in the wilderness" is our readers' favorite ride on a coaster in a Disney theme park. Paris' version wins over the other Thunders, thanks to its length and unique tunnels under the Rivers of America at the beginning and end of the ride, keeping it ahead of a late challenge from Anaheim's new "explosive" finish.

What is you favorite thrill ride at a Disney theme park?

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The Week Ahead: Disney and Universal schedules for September 15-21, 2014

Robert Niles

By Robert Niles
Published: September 14, 2014 at 5:14 PM

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Insider's Update: Universal's heading in One Direction

Robert Niles

By Robert Niles
Published: September 13, 2014 at 10:14 AM

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Vote of the Week: Apple Pay, MagicBands, cards, or cash?

Robert Niles

By Robert Niles
Published: September 12, 2014 at 5:19 PM

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Disney makes it official: Frozen is taking over Epcot's Norway ride

Robert Niles

By Robert Niles
Published: September 12, 2014 at 10:22 AM

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Disney's newest nighttime parade, Paint the Night, debuts at Hong Kong Disneyland

Robert Niles

By Robert Niles
Published: September 11, 2014 at 8:19 PM

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Halloween News: How Universal is selling Halloween in Singapore

Jacob Sundstrom

By Jacob Sundstrom
Published: September 11, 2014 at 12:16 PM

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Universal Studios Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights preview with Creative Director John Murdy

Robert Niles

By Robert Niles
Published: September 10, 2014 at 8:56 PM

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Six Flags looks to raise its game for dark rides with 'Justice League'

Robert Niles

By Robert Niles
Published: September 9, 2014 at 1:37 PM

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Let's get a preview of Universal Orlando's 2014 Halloween Horror Nights

Domenik Jost

By Domenik Jost
Published: September 9, 2014 at 11:16 AM

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Universal Orlando reveals the name for its fifth hotel: Sapphire Falls Resort

Robert Niles

By Robert Niles
Published: September 9, 2014 at 9:40 AM

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