PERISCOPES UP, THEME PARKERS: When the close of the year arrives, and the start of the new one, many people turn to cleaning out their refrigerators, and stocking up on healthy foods, and fresh resolutions, and minds turn very much to specific issues involving tomorrow and a multitude of to-dos. But ask any maven of roller coasters and haunted houses what their year-end pondering involves and "what's ahead for area theme parks?" is probably high on the list. Because many a Southern Californian park is starting to tease the big, new attractions of the warm-weather months, the rides and walk-throughs that will get park-goers talking even before they arrive at the front gates. Disneyland is taking a different route with its new "Frozen" area in Disney California Adventure, with a January opening, but that makes sense: "Frozen" is, well, frozen, and snow-filled, and a winter debut fits. Knott's Berry Farm, a hop over from Anaheim, is keeping its attraction-focused eye on springtime, though, and water, and sea monsters of a giant, mega-tentacled bent: Voyage to the Iron Reef makes its splashy hello in Buena Park in 2015.
4-D ATTRACTION: The glub-glub extravaganza will bow on the theme park's Boardwalk. Think a "mystic lair" and "creatures who have risen to wreak havoc" and a "Kraken Queen" and "swimming mechanical monsters" that adore chowing down on metal. Which means that the coasters and such of Knott's Berry Farm may be one of the creature's next meals. Bring on the eeks, the thrills, and the steampunk-y style that the sneak-peek-y renderings boast. "The four-minute gaming adventure" pits guests against the Kraken Queen and her metal-craving minions, in a below-the-surface adventure. Nope, Buena Park isn't on the Pacific, but you can play at being under the waves, for a few minutes, among beasties boasting brass-neat Victorian flair. Will you be the victor? Will the metal of the park's coasters be snatched from the sea creatures' maws? And will you be first to try out the new Knott's Berry Farm treat? Keep an eye out, theme parkers: 2015 has some weird new universes to explore.