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Hurricane Harbor opens this weekend

Magic Mountain lining up new entertainment for summer.

Posted: May 2, 2008 1:17 a.m.
Updated: July 2, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Skogstad Forerkort, from Norway, is spending his summer vacation touring all of the Six Flags parks in North America. Here he is looking at one of the old maps and pictures on display at the Sky Towers museum at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

 
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor will mark the start of its 14th season on Saturday with the Polar Plunge, an annual benefit for the Special Olympics.

Next door to the Valencia water park, Six Flags Magic Mountain is preparing to debut its summer mystery show while working to remain a fun destination for families despite a slow economy.

Hurricane Harbor
Participants in the Polar Plunge, currently in its third year, will dip in the Forgotten Sea Wave Pool with more than 480,000 gallons of water and a constant tide of two-foot waves.

Polar Plunge, set to begin at 9 a.m., is hosted by Special Olympics Santa Clarita Valley and local law enforcement agencies.

The event also will include the Super Polar Plunge, inwhich participants will hit the wave pool hourly for
24 hours.

The water park will be open for weekend operation throughout May. Daily operations will begin May 24 to Sept. 1. The park will only be open weekends in September.

While Hurricane Harbor will not feature any new attractions, plans for future changes are in the works.
"We definitely have a 5-year plan," said Jay Thomas, park president of Hurricane Harbor and Magic Mountain.

Although he was unable to give specific details, Thomas said the plans will include the expansion of Hurricane Harbor and ride rehabilitation.

In the meantime, Sue Carpenter, spokeswoman for the park, said Hurricane Harbor has redesigned the food service area for line efficiency and added a new outdoor grilling restaurant.

Magic Mountain
The Valencia theme park is making way for its newest show based on the CBS crime show, CSI, which will debut in the Magic Moments Theater on June 13.

"It's completely new," she said, adding that it is the first show for a Six Flags park.

According to Carpenter, the 30-minute live stage show will be interactive.

Carpenter said the show involves the audience working with the crime scene investigation forensic team to investigate evidence and clues and ultimately solve the mystery.

The mysteries do not involve murders, Carpenter said.

"It's something for the entire family to participate in," she said.

Additionally, Carpenter said this summer the park also will feature Dance, Dance Live, a competition based on the popular video game, Dance Dance Revolution, where players compete against others in choreographed dance moves.

Progress on the newest attractions at Magic Mountain are still on track.

The roller coaster X is being transformed into X2, Xtreme to the Second Power, and will be open on May 24.

The five-year-old X is receiving a $10 million revamp that includes new trains that are 10,000 pounds lighter.

Thomas Town, the newest children's area based on the character Thomas the Tank Engine will be open to the general public on June 6.

The park's Cyber Cafe and Sky Tower Museum are also open.

Carpenter said the Cyber Cafe, which includes a snack area and 15 Internet-ready computer stations, has been popular with parents or adults waiting for kids in the park.

The park's eye-catching famous red tower, once an observation deck and eatery, was recently converted into the Sky Tower Museum, giving guests a glimpse into the park, which opened in 1971.

Some of the items featured are the old uniforms worn by employees in the 1970s, which Carpenter described as "wild, psychedelic clothes."

Carpenter said the museum, coordinated by Operations Supervisor Brandon Bruce, has been getting good reviews, especially as the sky-high location gives guests a way to reflect on the park's earlier days.
As the economy continues its slowdown, Thomas said the parking is focusing its efforts on how to enhance the features of the park and its value.

"We have just as many rides as (Disneyland)," Thomas said, noting that the park has not done a good job of promoting its product offerings.

Shortly after Thomas was hired as park president in September, the Family Friendly Committee was formed to make the family-friendly attractions more visible to the public, according to Thomas and Carpenter.

The committee is made up of 30 employees, representing various departments.

Now attractions that have been deemed "family-friendly" by the group will be designated with a brightly-colored logo of a family.

Employee ‘ownership'
Thomas also said that the park has taken on a new philosophy, encouraging Magic Mountain's employees to get involved.

The park's 300 different areas, ranging from retail locations to food carts, are seen as individual business units, giving park employees ownership of that area.

He considers the Sky Tower Museum a product of that thinking.

Another example is that the security guards have been trained to make balloon animals for guests when they are not busy.

"Employees are taking great pride," he said. "They feel like they own their area."

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