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Darien Lake season includes new live shows, in-park concert series

The Daily News Online

Original Article »

April 14, 2011

Thomas the Tank Engine steams into Darien Lake Theme Park Resort this summer for one of six new live shows, and an in-park concert season will include a performance by “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks.

The theme park is also planning to expand its accommodation offerings with new family cabins.

Even the park’s Sea Lion Splash show, which debuted last year, is seeing a new addition: a baby sea lion.

Park officials announced plans for its 2011 season this morning.The park opens for the season May 14; Splashtown Water Park opens May 20.

Thrill ride fans may be disappointed that the announcement did not include news of new attractions, but a recent Los Angeles Times report suggests that park is "finalizing plans with a ride manufacturer" for a possible 2012 attraction.

Darien Lake, now operated by Herschend Family Entertainment, has not confirmed plans for 2012, but park spokeswoman Cassandra Okon teased park enthusiasts to stay tuned.

“Our focus right now is getting ready for a great 2011 season with new entertainment, new concerts, but we’re already starting to make plans for 2012,” Okon wrote in a recent e-mail to The Daily News. “We should have announcements later this year.”

Thomas the Tank Engine stars in “Thomas & Friends Full Steam Ahead Live!,” an interactive show for kids. In the show, kids embark on adventures with Thomas as he experiences timeless life lessons including discovery, friendship and cooperation.

“Sea Lion Splash: A Family Affair” stars the first South American male sea lion born in the United States. Freddie will join the sea lions in the park’s Galaxy Theatre, where park guests can learn about animal behavior and conservation while being entertained by the sea lions’ antics.

Other new live shows at Darien Lake include “Legends of Rock,” a tribute to rock ’n’ roll’s all-time greats; “Jump, Jive and Swing,” a show that taps into the rhythms of the swing era and celebrates timeless hits; “Countdown to Fun,” a new morning event at the Main Gate; and “Midway Dance Party Blowout,” a daily afternoon family party at the Gazebo Stage.

Sparks, the season-six winner of “American Idol,” will open the three-concert series of in-park performances on May 21 with a guest appearance by Avery. The series continues May 28 with dance-rock Neon Trees performs with We the Kings. After a month-long break, the series continues July 16 with a performance by Nickelodeon star Miranda Cosgrove (‘‘iCarly”) and Greyson Chance, a 14-year-old pianist who became a YouTube sensation after a talent show performance of Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi.” The in-park concerts are included with admission to the theme park.

Darien Lake has also doubles the size of its Brown Bear Cabins area.

Introduced last summer, the area has expanded “in response to guests’ feedback,” according to Cassandra Okon, the park’s public relations manager.

The new cabin additions are built in a village-style setting with a common play area for children. The play area surrounds the cabin village, allowing children another way to spend their day while remaining within earshot of the grownups, Okon said.

 Each cabin includes a fireplace, loft, bedroom, fully-equipped kitchen, eating area, wireless internet and a flat screen television.

Another addition for families this summer at Darien Lake is the Family Care Center. Conveniently located in the theme park, the Family Care Center provides baby changing centers, nursing stations for mothers and enhanced family bathrooms.


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