Amusement park rides are getting increasingly creative. Any occasional visitor to their local theme park or to a massive park empire like Walt Disney World or Six Flags can see that. It’s not just about the tallest, fastest rollercoasters with the most inversions and steepest hills anymore. Amusement parks across America and the world are using virtual reality and multisensory experiences to make even a simple water raft ride interactive and immersive. To highlight those breakthroughs of technology and the opening days of amusement park seasons across the country, we have compiled a list of 15 of the best new rides and attractions debuting this year.
The best new coming amusement park attractions of 2018 show the of theme park innovation. From a spinning rollercoaster that gives riders a new experience every time to a submarine ride that will allow guests to see marine life and hunt for LEGO-themed treasure, each of these 15 new attractions has something new and exciting to offer theme park enthusiasts and casual visitors.
Spinning while launching and going through three inversions sideways? If it sounds dizzying and like you’re speeding through time, that’s because you are. Introducing, the Time Traveler, which opened at Branson, Missouri’s Silver Dollar City on March 14. This new steel rollercoaster is the tallest, fastest, and longest spinning roller coaster in the world with a 90-foot drop and a top sped of 50.3 miles per hour.
Unlike other new VR rides debuting in 2018, Busch Garden Williamsburg’s Battle for Eire is not attached to a roller coaster or existing attraction, it’s in its own simulator platform that can seat up to 59 guests at a time. Put on your individual headset equipped with 4K resolution and gear up for an astonishing three-dimensional experience at 90 frames per second. The individualized experience will have you riding a dragon and fighting a cyclops in an attempt to save “the last remaining fairy in Ireland,” Addie. Battle for Eire opened on April 13 in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Set to be SeaWorld San Diego’s tallest, fastest roller coaster ever, Electric Eel is a jolting ride that tops out at 150 feet and 62 miles per hour. Pitched as mimicking the actual movements of an electric eel, this steel coaster will flip riders upside down and rock them back and forth. Electric Eel is set to open on May 12.
There’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it:Buena Park, California's Knott’s Berry Farm’s new rollercoaster for 2018, Hang Time, is going to be intense. The first dive coaster on the West Coast will take riders up a vertical hill, coast them at a 60 degree angle then let them hang for just a few moments, to get the illusion of a disappearing track. Then, they’ll dip at down a 96-degree drop and experience negative-g stall loop, which gives the sensation of floating. It’s going to be crazy, and it’s going to open on May 18 in.
A Mardi Gras Hangover may not sound like a great time, but it is in Lake County, Illinois. Six Flags Great America’s Mardi Gras themed land is anchored by this new coaster, and it earns its name. Being pegged as “the largest loop coaster of its kind,” this coaster stands at 100 feet tall and faces a unique face-to-face seating system for its 32 riders. With multiple inversions and 360-degree revolutions, this coaster is expected to have some of the longest hang-time ever, thus the name. Mardi Gras Hangover doesn’t have an opening day yet, but it’s rumored to debut just in time for Memorial Day weekend.
Taking over the spot once occupied by Disaster! and Beetlejuice's Rock and Roll Graveyard Revue, Fast & Furious: Supercharged will let riders at Universal Studios Florida to join “the family.” Like other new Universal Studios attractions like Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon and the entirety of Volcano Bay, this ride will feature a virtual queue and sets from the films to view while you wait to go on a virtual adventure. Though a version of Fast & Furious: Supercharged already exists at Universal Studios Hollywood, the Orlando version of this ride will exclusively feature Tej Parker (Ludacris) and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster) along with the rest of the cast. The ride has yet to receive an official opening date, though it’s rumored for early May.
Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, is known for pushing the boundaries of what rollercoasters can be. They’re attempting to do that again by reinventing the all-wooden Mean Streak, opened in 1991as the tallest wooden roller coaster in the world, into Steel Vengeance, the first wood/steel hybrid hypercoaster. The ride will take guests down a 200-foot hill and through four inversions, blurring the lines between right side up and upside down. When Steel Vengeance opens in May 2018, it will become the world’s tallest, fastest, steepest, and longest hybrid coaster with the most inversions and airtime. Yes, it’s expected to break 10 new world records for Cedar Point.
The madness of Harley Quinn inspired this dueling looping coaster, set to debut at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California, in spring 2018. The Harley Quinn Crazy Coaster will feature two trains rushing backward, forward, and upside down. With a total of 12 inversions, this continuous looping coaster won’t move fast, but it will synchronize, making it look like you’re about to run into the other train car. And if that isn’t insane, we don’t know what is.
Replacing the beloved Georgia Cyclone after 27 years, in spring 2018, the Twisted Cyclone will roar into Six Flags Over Georgia, which is just west of Atlanta. The Georgia Cyclone was transformed into this wood/steel-hybrid rollercoaster. The height is raised to 100 feet tall, the angle is steepened to 75 degrees, and the steel design allows for three all-new inversions. The Twisted Cyclone, with its cars designed to mimic vintage sports cars, will start racing through Atlanta this spring.
Wonder Woman’s lasso is thin, and so is its namesake rollercoaster. Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster is set to be the world's first single-rail coaster. This innovative design will have a 100-foot drop, three inversions, and jaw-dropping tunnels and loops. Though it was originally set to debut at San Antonio’s Six Flags Fiesta Texas in mid-March, the rollercoaster’s opening has been delayed two times this year. It’s now reported to open in “late spring.”
Known to Disneyland fans as California Screamin’, this lengthy steel rollercoaster at Disney’s California Adventure is getting re-themed to The Incredibles. Though the track of the coaster will remain the same, the story is going to change vastly. You see, the coaster is actually Mrs. Incredible stretching and trying to get to her baby son Jack-Jack. The story will merge an iconic coaster with classic Disney storytelling for an all-new experience. The Incredicoaster is set to take flight across Anaheim on June 23, along with the rest of Pixar Pier.
Toy Story is one of the most beloved Disney Pixar franchises, so of course Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, is opening up a land themed to this iconic animated film. Toy Story Land will contain two new rides: Alien Swirling Saucers and Slinky Dog Dash. The latter is a family rollercoaster that will have guests hop on Slinky Dog and rush through Andy’s toys like Tinker Toys, Jenga, and familiar faces from the Toy Story universe. This stretched out ride gives Disney’s Hollywood Studios a much-needed family thrill ride. It’s set to open on June 30, along with the rest of Toy Story Land.
What aquatic-themed amusement park would be complete without some water rides? This year, Sea World Orlando is set to debut Infinity Falls, a thrilling water raft ride. Themed after a scientific base camp in the rain forest that gets lost in the jungle river, this ride will take you up a unique vertical lift, through waterfalls, rapids, and the remains of an ancient civilization before ending with a massive 40-foot drop. The ride doesn’t have an opening date yet, but it’s expected in time for summer 2018.
Not all amusement park attractions are rides, but they can still be engaging, immersive experiences. That’s what Universal Studios Hollywood is looking to create with Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor's Quest. Opening in summer 2018, this attraction will be housed in a classic Hollywood-style movie theater. The heroes from Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda franchise will take you on a new awesome adventure filled with visual effects and multi-sensory experiences.
Have you ever wanted to go on a submarine treasure hunt? If your answer is “well, yes, of course,” then Legoland California’s new Lego City: Deep Sea Adventure is exactly what you’ve been wanting. This first-of-its-kind attraction will submerge a 12-person submarine underwater and into an aquarium, where guests will be able to see marine life like stingrays, sharks, and other fish. They’ll also be able to spot treasure and play interactive mini-games throughout the ride, merging a real sea adventure with a theme park adventure. Deep Sea Adventure is set to open in summer 2018 in Carlsbad, California. But if you can’t go on that sea adventure, you can always consider these family-friendly cruises.
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