February 2022

The Year of New Rides

New Ride in Monterey Leads 2022 Offerings

By Erik Chalhoub

2020, as we all know, was an awful year. 2021 was mediocre for theme parks, but still better than the previous year.

But 2022? We’re in for quite a treat.

Between the new rides, returning events and a (hopefully) well-vaccinated state, there is a lot to look forward to as theme park junkies.

Locally, the biggest surprise announcement in our region in years dropped recently, and I couldn’t be more excited.

Are you a fan of the fantastical world of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s Haunted Castle, and love the thrill of chasing the high score in Justice League: Battle for Metropolis at Six Flags Magic Mountain? Well, you’re going to want to head to Monterey later this year when Treasure Hunt: The Ride debuts on Cannery Row.

Famed “dark ride” manufacturer Sally Dark Rides is joining forces with Paso Robles-based fabrication experts Daniels Wood Land to bring a pirate-themed dark ride to Monterey. The two companies made the out-of-nowhere reveal at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions’ annual expo in Florida in mid-November.

Located near the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the ride will feature hand-crafted set pieces, animatronics and special effects blended with interactive media.

Sally Dark Rides designed the Haunted Castle, Justice League and numerous other rides across the world. Daniels Wood Land, meanwhile, was heavily involved in the Boardwalk’s new main entrance in 2017, fabricating and installing pieces such as the entry sign, and the exteriors of Fright Walk and The Vault.

Treasure Hunt is scheduled to open in 2022 at 700 Cannery Row, squeezed into an 8,145-square-foot area, which includes the queue and maintenance areas. Six four-passenger vehicles will traverse a track, which is expected to take about four-and-a-half minutes. A six-minute pre-show is also planned.

Sally Dark Rides provided this description of the ride’s story:

“Visitors of Monterey Bay are invited to explore a newly discovered system of caverns located beneath Cannery Row. Legend has it, these caverns were once a hideout, where infamous Pirate Captain Hippolyte Bouchard and his crew of scallywags hid their treasure. 

“During the exploration, riders will be provided ‘Cavern Car’ vehicles and ‘Treasure Collector’ interactive devices that will help them traverse the terrain down in the subterranean tunnels. While riders keep their eyes peeled for treasure, they must also defend themselves against danger. Everything from the rising tide, sea monsters and a fearsome skeleton crew will head their travels as they hunt for hidden treasure.”

What else is on tap for 2022?

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom will at last debut its new family coaster in 2022. First announced in 2019, but delayed due to the pandemic in 2020, Sidewinder Safari is a spinning wild mouse-type coaster that will feature live rattlesnakes and other reptiles in its queue. The coaster’s vehicles sit four riders, who will twist their way through hairpin curves and rapid drops over 1,378 feet of track.

Six Flags Magic Mountain is currently constructing Wonder Woman: Flight of Courage, a new coaster for 2022. The single-rail coaster is manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction, the same team behind Railblazer at California’s Great America. The ride is similar to the Santa Clara park’s newest coaster, but comes in taller (131 feet), faster (58 mph) and longer (3,300 feet) than its Northern California cousin. Magic Mountain had to remove two of its rides to make it fit (Green Lantern and Tidal Wave), but it seems their sacrifice will be well worth it.


Save the Dates: 

Clam Chowder Cook-Off: The 41st annual event returns to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Feb. 26-27. Amateur Chefs will face off on Feb. 26, followed by Professional Chefs on Feb. 27. Both days feature Boston and Manhattan Clam Chowder, and attendees can help pick a winner each day. Tasting kit proceeds benefit Santa Cruz Parks & Recreation. For information, visit beachboardwalk.com/Clam-Chowder-Cook-Off.

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