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Cinecittà World Theme Park Opens in Rome, Bringing the Magic of the Movies to the Public

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In The White Sheik, a 1952 film by the great Italian director Federico Fellini, a young newlywed wanders onto the set of her favorite television show. She watches, star struck, as actors parade through in elaborate costumes, getting ready to shoot a scene. Her feeling of awe is palpable, and familiar to many of us who have caught a glimpse of a favorite TV show or movie being filmed. 

Cinecittà World, a new theme park opened last month in Rome—a city rich in film history—aims to bring some movie magic to the public. Inspired by Cinecittà, the film studio that was once called Hollywood on the Tiber, it offers twenty attractions, eight film sets, and four theaters.

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The World’s Tallest Water Slide Opens May 23

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If you’re afraid of heights, you might want to skip your next visit to the Schlitterbarn Water Park in Kansas City, where the world’s tallest waterslide is set to open Memorial Day weekend.

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Possible New Venice Theme Park Raises Eyebrows

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An Italian developer last week unveiled a plan to create a 10-acre amusement park in the heart of Venice, complete with gigantic Ferris wheel, roller coaster, bobbing boat rides, a log flume, a swinging galleon, and what look suspiciously like Polynesian thatched huts selling trinkets. The proposal is by no means assured, and must still be approved by local authorities. But nonetheless it answers the age-old question: No, nothing is sacred anymore.

The developer, Antonio Zamperla, has chosen as its site the ill-used San Biagio Island, a man-made spit of landfill that has long been exploited as a garbage dump. The builder said it will first clear the land and remediate the ecological damage before constructing the park. Among the attractions: re-enactments of the naval Battle of Lepanto, between the Turks and Venetians, in an artificial pond; Carnival-themed performances on an outdoor stage; interactive exhibits of the lagoon ecosystem; augmented-reality installations based on the city’s history; and a spinning, stand-up, half-pipe ride called a Disk’O, which is best enjoyed before you eat lunch.

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'Cars Land' Starts its Engines at Disney California Adventure Park

201206-b-cars-land-disneyjpgUSA Today Travel | The centerpiece of Disney California Adventure Park's five-year, $1.1 billion tune-up is off to the races with thumbs-up reviews—but would-be visitors to the Anaheim park's new 12-acre theme land can expect a traffic jam of fellow admirers over the next few weeks.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the next two weekends are likely to be particularly crowded when up to a million annual passholders join regular park visitors at Cars Land before a summer blackout for the passes begins, and says Disney California Adventure could be forced to shut its gates and direct fans to its neighboring big sister, Disneyland.

Disneyland had to turn away visitors for several hours when crowds overwhelmed the park during a recent 24-hour Leap Day event, the paper notes. (Photo credit: Paul Hiffmeyer/Disneyland Resort)

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Avatars, Napoleon, and Angry Birds: Theme Park News

What’s happening in the world of amusement parks? Phone apps, world domination, and futuristic technology are inspiring some interesting theme park ideas.

An augmented-reality, Kinect-powered theme park, Live Park, opened last December outside Seoul. The immersive experience includes 50 attractions within a 10,000-square-meter space through which the visitors—and the avatars they create—move and interact with 3D video projections, screens, touchable art installations, and live performers. The Live Park videos make the experience look simultaneously thrilling and overwhelming, sort of like the concept of an audience-participation Cirque du Soleil.

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Contest Watch: Paris, Mexico, Reykjavik + More

201110-b-hoteljules-1jpgThis month’s contest watch is a study in contradictions. Have a romantic escape to Paris or take the family to LEGOLAND. Indulge in a escape to Mexico, or help bring fresh drinking water to communities in Rwanda. It may be hard to chose, but entering is easy.

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Ferrari World Starts its Engines

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The world's largest indoor theme park is coming to a sheikdom near you—well, as long as you live near Abu Dhabi, that is. That's where Ferrari World opens on October 27. The world's first Ferrari theme park (what, you thought there already was one?!) has shops, restaurants, and 20 rides celebrating various aspect of the Ferrari brand. No, these are not kiddie rides.

Here are the ones you'll want to hit first—or avoid, depending on your point of view:

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