Thursday, March 01, 2007

Six Flags Hopes Thomas Draws Young Families

Six Flags Hopes Thomas Draws Young Families
By WILLIAM ROLLER/Times-Herald correspondent

THOMAS, a character from children's books and television, will be featured at Thomas Town at Six Flags in Vallejo. (Courtesy illustration)

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom plans a new attraction that includes a train ride based on the popular children's character "Thomas the Tank Engine."

"Thomas is ever so popular," said Six Flags spokeswoman Nancy Chan.

"Everyone knows Thomas from TV, video, and books," she said. "Thomas characters are as popular as any of the 'Looney Toons. Thomas is this generation's Bugs Bunny."

A half-acre attraction called Thomas Town also will offer two other rides, Harold the Helicopter and Bertie the Bus.

Starting Memorial Day weekend, Thomas Town visitors also will be encouraged to pose for photographs with characters such as Sir Topham Hat and tour life-size model homes on the Island of Sodor, a fictional island in the Irish Sea featured in the "Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends" television series.

Chan said the park, which recently changed its name, expects the new attraction to draw parents and children since the Thomas & Friends brand strikes an "emotional chord because of its familiarity."

Thomas & Friends is the tale of an imaginary railroad. The first book, published in 1945, was a children's fantasy written by the Rev. Wilbert Awdry for his son Christopher. By 1972, Awdry had published 22 books. By 1983, his son had added 14 more. In 1984, the British Broadcasting Corp. adapted the stories for TV.

Six Flags will be open for spring break, from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 24-31. Starting April 15, it will also be open weekdays until 7 p.m.

For more information: call 556-5227 or visit kingdom

THIS DRAWING features the Harold the Helicopter ride that will be part of Thomas Town at Six Flags in Vallejo. (Courtesy illustration)

E-mail William Roller at or call 553-6825.

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